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Why we love talking about ourselves

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The Facebook logo is reflected in a young Indian woman's sunglasses as she browses on a tablet in Bangalore on May 15, 2012.
MANJUNATH KIRAN/AFP/Getty Images

It really is all about us.  So much so, research suggests that there's an evolutionary reason we might want to talk about ourselves so much.

That's the gist of an article in this month's Atlantic magazine called "The Selfish Meme."

Author Frank Rose notes studies that have suggested 30 to 40 percent of ordinary conversation consists of people talking about themselves, but 80 percent of social media updates are about us.

Rose couples those study findings with other research that suggests the act of talking about ourselves - sharing our thoughts - activates the brain's reward system.  

Specifically, he notes a Harvard study from earlier this year in which:

The researchers found that the mesolimbic dopamine system--the seat of the brain's reward mechanism--was more engaged by questions about the test subject's own opinions and attitudes than by questions about the opinions and attitudes of other people. 

The system has long been known to respond to both primary rewards (food and sex) and secondary rewards (money), but this was the first time it's been shown to light up in response to, as the researchers put it, "self-¬disclosure."

Frank Rose joins The Daily Circuit to discuss his research.