Is Facebook Better Than Sex?
After testing the results of almost 80 people, the researchers found specific regions of our brains become active as a result of revealing personal information. One region of interest is the "pleasure center" believed to focus on reward, pleasure and addiction. The mesolimbic dopamine system "pleasure center" includes the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental areas of the brain.
What truly gets our brain's pleasure center working overtime are the usual suspects of food, money, humor, a picture of the opposite sex and, yes, self-disclosing information (hello Facebook).
The dopamine released by a person's brain when a posting of theirs is created, "liked" and commented on by others appears to be proportionate in pleasure with money, food and sex, according to the Harvard researchers' study.
"Two additional studies demonstrated that these effects stemmed from the independent value that individuals placed on self-referential thought and on simply sharing information with others," they wrote. "Together, these findings suggest that the human tendency to convey information about personal experience may arise from the intrinsic value associated with self-disclosure."
To test their theory, the researchers gave subjects a choice of answering questions about facts, others, or themselves. Even when faced with monetary rewards, people wanted to talk about themselves (not a shocking surprise actually). Research in the past has quantified the amount of money people will pay to view attractive members of the opposite sex. Knowing how much people are willing to pay is something Rick's Cabaret(RICK) figures out on a daily basis, and it's a lot.
Zynga(ZNGA) provides reasons for people to post updates and stay connected. Zynga has millions of players spending time on their games. Most of Zynga players are from Facebook.
The attraction to play on Zynga is so rewarding, people spend real money to buy virtual cows and other "things" to use in their fantasy online games. Zynga appears to demonstrate, in part, a real-life "experiment" in the amount people will pay for social success.
The question is still up in the air how much value Facebook, Zynga and Linkedin can produce for shareholders. (There is no question about Rick's.) The research appears to support the online social media experience is here to stay.