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date: 27 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Information sharing is a core human activity that catalyzes innovation and development. Recent advances in neuroscience reveal information about the psychological mechanisms that drive sharing, with a particular focus on self-relevance, social cognition, and subjective value. Based on these insights, this chapter proposes a structural model of the neurocognitive and psychological processes that drive sharing decisions, called value-based virality. Further, it maps existing knowledge about neural correlates and moderators of thought processes linked to individual and population-level sharing events and outcomes and suggests avenues for future investigation. Finally, the chapter discusses the potential of the neuroscience of information sharing to interact productively with other methodological traditions such as computational social science. Initial neuroimaging studies of information sharing provide insights into psychological mechanisms that were previously inaccessible. With the development of more realistic experimental setups and multimethod designs, future efforts promise advances toward a unifying theory of why and how people share information.

Keywords: information sharing, retransmission, virality, fMRI, neuroscience, psychological mechanisms, social cognition, self-related processing, valuation, value-based virality

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