Brain Activity Can Predict If an Article Will Go Viral

Chased fanatically but realized rarely, a truly viral story seems to happen purely by chance — a fortuitous alignment of trending topic, clever headline, compelling copy and maybe a witty GIF.

Now, a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania has built a model for “virality” by identifying neural mechanisms at work when people decide to share an article or not. In two studies, of 41 and 39 people each, they used fMRI to monitor participants’ brain activity as they rated how l

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