World’s Strangest

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Why People Brag

did we tell you how we know why people brag? Y’know because we’re pretty
smart and all, and we read the Wall Street Journal, like all smart people

Anyhoo. Here’s why:

People brag for all sorts of reasons, she says: to appear worthy
of attention or love or to try and cover up our deepest insecurities.
To prove to ourselves that we’re OK, that people from our past who said
we wouldn’t measure up were wrong. Or simply because we’re excited when
good things happen to us.

And talking about ourselves feels good. According to the results
of a series of experiments conducted by Harvard University neuroscientists
and published in May in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
the reward areas of our brain—the same areas that respond to "primary
rewards" such as food and sex—are activated when we talk
about ourselves. We devote between 30% and 40% of our conversation time
to doing just that, according to the study, which didn’t focus on boasting
specifically, but on self-disclosure.

In one experiment, the researchers offered people small amounts
of money to answer questions about themselves or others. They generally
were willing to forgo earnings in order to talk about themselves.

Elizabeth Bernstein explains further why bragging is getting worse now
that people have Facebook: Link

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August 15th, 2012

Stranger to the World



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