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Why We Love Talking About Ourselves

Simply put, self-disclosure is gratifying.

People just love to talk. We communicate with each other all day long through text messages, emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions. Language is a powerful communication tool that enables us to connect, share ideas, and deepen understanding. We are social creatures and by talking to one another, we feel more connected.

Interestingly, the types of conversations we choose are astonishingly consistent. There is a recurring theme in most of what we say. Studies show that hands down, our favorite topic of communication is, you guessed it, ourselves. As research reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, study subjects showed signs of activity in the areas of the brain that are linked to value and motivation when they talked about themselves.

Talking about oneself activates the same areas of the brain that light up when eating good food, taking drugs, and even having sex. Simply put, self-disclosure is gratifying. It gives us a neurological buzz.

Who talks more and why, is less clear. Stereotypes lead us to believe that women enjoy chatting more than men. According to science, it’s more nuanced than that. A test conducted to explore social interaction patterns found that women speak only slightly more than men in professional and social settings, and only when the number of people involved in the conversation is less than six. In large groups, men tend to dominate the conversation.

Bottom Line: Everyone’s favorite topic is the same. We all love talking about ourselves. Next time you find yourself deep in conversation, be sure to listen too. Odds are, if you let the other person talk a lot about themselves, they will think you are fascinating.

More from Samantha Boardman M.D.
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