The science behind viral videos
CBC's Torah Kachur explains the key role of 'mentalizing'
Companies spend millions of dollars trying to create the next big internet sensation, but the metrics for what will create YouTube hits and retweets are not exactly scientific. Now, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles, have used functional magnetic resonance imaging to map the areas of the brain that light up at "the next big thing."
The temporoparietal junction is the key brain area that makes you want to share a fantastic new restaurant or another Grumpy Cat meme. This area is involved in a task called mentalizing, where you can visualize if someone else will like it. One of the key findings of this research, as explained by CBC's science columnist Torah Kachur, is that people differ in their ability to mentalize. Those who are better at it are more persuasive and generate most of the buzz.