Brain regions associated with the spread of ideas often called 'buzz' have been discovered by UCLA psychologists.
The research has a broad range of implications, and could lead to more effective public health campaigns, more persuasive advertisements and better ways for teachers to communicate with students, the study authors said.
"Our study suggests that people are regularly attuned to how the things they're seeing will be useful and interesting, not just to themselves but to other people," the study's senior author, Matthew Lieberman, a UCLA professor of psychology and of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences, said.
"Before this study, we didn't know what brain regions were associated with ideas that become contagious, and we didn't know what regions were associated with being an effective communicator of ideas," lead author Emily Falk, who conducted the research as a UCLA doctoral student in Lieberman's lab and is currently a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania's Annenberg School for Communication, said.
"Now we have mapped the brain regions associated with ideas that are likely to be contagious and are associated with being a good 'idea salesperson.' In the future, we would like to be able to use these brain maps to forecast what ideas are likely to be successful and who is likely to be effective at spreading them," she said.
The study is published online in the journal Psychological Science.