Scientists have located the specific brain region involved in the spread of ideas, possibly helping to understand why some ideas fall flat while others go viral. Called the temporoparietal junction, or TPJ, the region is most active when we find ideas we want to share with others. “At the first encounter with information, people are already using the brain network involved in thinking about how this can be interesting to other people,” said Matthew Lieberman, a UCLA professor of psychology, psychiatry, and behavior science. “We’re wired to want to share information with other people. I think that is a profound statement about the social nature of our minds.”
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What’s the Big Idea?
Modern media bombard us with information almost continually, and thanks to social networks, we can choose to pass that information on, or not. “By further studying the neural activity in these brain regions to see what information and ideas activate these regions more, psychologists potentially could predict which advertisements are most likely to spread and go viral and which will be most effective… Such knowledge could also benefit public health campaigns aimed at everything from reducing risky behaviors among teenagers to combating cancer, smoking and obesity.”