And the key is in our brain. A study carried out by the Annenberg School of Communication of the University of Pennsylvania (USA) has unveiled the mystery capable of elucidating the virality of an Internet content: according to the brain activity of the reader.
To carry out the study, they had the participation of 80 people who have measured brain activity, using functional magnetic resonances, while reading 80 articles of similar extension related to health and published in the New York Times. The volunteers had to assess their interest in reading the articles and sharing them while the researchers made the measurements.
People read or share content that connects with their own experiences, with their sense of who they are or want to be, they share things that can improve their relationships, make them look smarter or more empathetic.
After analyzing the neural data, the scientists explained that when people choose something to read or to share or recommend to others, they think both of themselves and of others, evidencing the highest levels of activity in these neural systems.
When you think about what you are going to read and what you are going to share, both are inherently social thoughts, and when you think socially, you usually think about yourself and your relationship with others.” The social world and the concept you have of yourself are interlaced.
With the data of the brain activity of the same participants and the same articles, the experts were able to predict the virality of a text among the readers of the New York Times who shared that group of contents a total of 117,611 times. The key is that the brain activity of the regions studied was combined, unconsciously, generating a signal that gave a certain value to the article, a signal that indicates what is to be shared and what is not.
In practice, if you create a message that the reader thinks will make you feel more positive or can improve a relationship, we can predict that the likelihood of that message being shared will grow.
The results have been published in the journals Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) and Psychological Science.