Despite the financial incentive, people often preferred to talk about themselves and willingly gave up between 17% and 25% of their potential earnings so they could reveal personal information. “We joked that this was the penny for your thoughts study,” Dr. Tamir said. The Harvard University neuroscientist tells The Wall Street Journal: “Self-disclosure is extra rewarding. People were even willing to forgo money in order to talk about themselves.” The proof came in the pudding of the team’s studies which looked at whether or not people placed an unusually high value on the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings.
In the test, scientists used a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which tracks changes in blood flow between neurons associated with mental activity, to see what parts of the brain responded most strongly when people talked about their own beliefs and options, rather than speculating about other people.
Generally, acts of self disclosure were accompanied by spurts of heightened activity in brain regions belonging to the meso-limbic dopamine system, which is associated with the sense of reward and satisfaction from food, money or sex.
Source: Wall Street Journal