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This is your brain on Facebook

Did you know that when someone “likes” your Facebook status — or, even better, actually comments on it — that warm fuzzy feeling you get is akin to the feeling you get from good food or good sex? Of course you knew that! Why else do you waste so many hours on social networking sites, over-sharing the minutiae of your life, and willingly sharing so much private data with massive technology companies who can then tailor advertising to you?!

Well, in case you were wondering, some nerds (sorry, scientists) at Harvard University have now confirmed this. In official lab lingo, what you’re doing is called “self-disclosure” — even when you’re just posting about what an awesome poo your toddler just took in the potty, or how much you love your snookums on your second wedding anniversary. And the more you self-disclose, and the more attention you get for it, the more your dopamine levels spike. It’s that whole pleasure and anticipation reward center in your brain — where good sex and good food are also logged. The research was published last month in a journal called Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Do with this information what you will. Maybe it will make you feel like a lab rat or a trained monkey, pressing the tab for treats while billionaires in the Bay Area make more and more money off you. Or maybe you can use this to your benefit: Next time you’re thinking about booty-calling your asshole ex or comfort-eating that fourth slice of pie a la mode… consider updating your Facebook profile instead. Pretty soon you’ll be skipping along the sidewalks calling out, You like me! You really like me!

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