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Is Facebook Better Than Sex?

Stocks in this article: FB ZNGA LNKD RICK AAPL

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- How does it feel?

Not when you give or receive a poke. How does it feel when you see others "like" your status update or comment "LOL" to your funny picture? Does it make you want to do it again and receive even more "likes" and comments?

A team of researchers recently published their findings in a study asking the question of what it feels like when people share personal information on social media sites like Facebook (FB), LinkedIn (LNKD) and Twitter.

Here is what they found: Sharing information is pleasurable. (See my Oops, I Did It Again: Facebook and Zynga Hit New Lows article.)

We all have a Facebook "friend" who update their Facebook page 50,000 times a day. "I am out of bed...I hate Mondays...I can't decide if I should wear the blue shirt or the red one...decided on green...gained half a pound since yesterday's update...need to look at diet plans...driving to the bank...waiting in bank line..." and on and on the updates appear all day long ad nauseam.

People posting countless updates on Facebook are actually not much different than some people at parties. You know the type: People who begin talking the moment they walk in the door until hours later when the door closes behind them as they leave. The difference is you can more easily ignore "friends" on Facebook than at a party.

According to research, we spend 30% to 40% of the time we talk talking about our own subjective experiences. I believe the research percentages must be an average and not hard limits because we all know people on the right side of that bell curve.


Researchers Diana Tamir and Jason Mitchell of Harvard University's Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab conducted a study asking why people are motivated to post personal information on social networks. The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanning while asking subjects questions. They wanted to know if using social sites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and others stimulated parts of the brain.

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.

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