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Study: Facebook Sharing Comparable To Enjoyment From Sex, Food

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File photo of a young woman looking at her Facebook account. (credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a young woman looking at her Facebook account. (credit: Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (CBSDC) - Food, sex and Facebook posting views. It’s what your brain likes best.

The reward given by a person’s brain when a Facebook posting of theirs is viewed, liked and commented on has proven to be comparable in pleasure to the response from food and sex, according to a recent Harvard University study.

The research, which was published last month in an edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that social media outlets give way to an increased rate of “self-disclosure.” The increase in “self-disclosure” leads to a spike in the amount of dopamine produced based on the pleasure or anticipation of a reward as a result of a social-media post being viewed, according to the research.

The study, which hints at Facebook’s role in the study but never directly cites the social-media giant, discovered “that humans so willingly self-disclose because doing so represents an event with intrinsic value, in the same way as with primary rewards such as food and sex.”

Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell of Harvard’s Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab studied how people would react when given the choice between a small cash reward for answering factual questions and a lesser reward for giving their own views and opinions on a subject. According to the study, a majority of the participants decided they’d rather talk about themselves.

“Just as monkeys are willing to forgo juicy rewards to view dominant groupmates and college students are willing to give up money to view attractive members of the opposite sex, our participants were willing to forgo money to think and talk about themselves,” the researchers wrote.

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