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Jul 19, 2013 10:20 AM EDT

Boasting About Oneself Causes Same Feelings As Having Sex Or Pleasure Food, Study

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Talking about oneself to friends is as pleasurable as having sex or eating food, according to a recent study conducted by the researchers Harvard University Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience Lab. The study showed that people spend up to 40 per cent of their time talking about themselves.

Researchers arrived at the conclusion after they conducted functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) tests on respondents. The analysis found that when people talk about themselves, a chemical reaction is started in the body which is also otherwise triggered during sex.

The brain scanning technology can recognize the blood flow changes to certain parts of the brain when confronted with certain stimuli.

The researchers conducted two kinds of experiments on 195 subjects. In the first test, they were asked to talk about themselves, including their own opinions and personality traits. Then, in the second test, the participants were asked to converse opinions and traits with other people they knew.

During both the discussions, the researchers calculated the blood flow levels in the participant's brains.

They then found that when participants talked about themselves, they observed an increase in activity to the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). Plus, they also noticed a change in activity in the nucleus accumbens (NAcc) and the ventral tegmental area (VTA) for the very first time.

Previous studies have been shown that similar activity levels in NAcc and VTA occurs when a person is having sex, taking cocaine or eating sweet and pleasure food.

These two parts of the brain are known for producing dopamine. Dopamine is a chemical that controls the brain's reward and pleasure systems.

The findings prove that talking about oneself might be 'inherently pleasurable' and causes people to experience these feelings more, which in turn inspire them to talk about themselves more often.

The second experiment showed that the two parts of the brain became even more active when people talked about themselves with another person they knew, like a friend or family member.

As a result, the study concludes that people find it pleasurable when they talk about themselves, but the pleasure increases when they talk about themselves with others.

'You may like to talk about yourself simply because it feels good-because self-disclosure produces a burst of activity in neural regions associated with pleasure, motivation, and reward. But, in this case, feeling good may be no more than a means to an end-it may be the immediate reward that jump-starts a cycle of self-sharing, ultimately leading to wide varieties of long-term benefits,' Adrian Ward, a  psychology PHD said.

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