The Science of Us
Originally posted May 25, 2016
Here is an excerpt:
Across the two languages, the researchers found, the stories that were most widely shared were high in “dominance,” or the feeling of being in control. Posts that make you feel happy or inspired are high in dominance, the research says, while stories that make you feel sad are disempowering. (This is also why “21 Pictures That Will Restore Your Faith In Humanity” is perhaps the finest BuzzFeed post of all, and like all quality vintages, it only gets better with age).
While dominance led to sharing in this data set, arousal (the feeling of being upset or excited, as indicated by giving angry affective feedback) predicted commenting. So if a story makes you really upset — as perhaps may be exploited by a presidential candidate or two — you’ll be more likely to comment, providing further explanation for why internet comments tend toward viciousness.