How the Brain Creates the "Buzz" That Helps Ideas Spread

Professor Emily Falk is the lead author on a study, conducted while she was a graduate student at UCLA that, for the first time, identifies the brain regions associated with the successful spread of ideas, often called “buzz.”

The research has a broad range of implications, the study authors say, and could lead to more effective public health campaigns, more persuasive advertisements, and better ways for teachers to communicate with students.

The findings were announced by UCLA this morning. The study findings are published in the online edition of the journal Psychological Science, with print publication to follow later this summer. 

"Before this study, we didn't know what brain regions were associated with ideas that become contagious, and we didn't know what regions were associated with being an effective communicator of ideas," said Falk, who joined Annenberg this month. "Now we have mapped the brain regions associated with ideas that are likely to be contagious and are associated with being a good 'idea salesperson.' In the future, we would like to be able to use these brain maps to forecast what ideas are likely to be successful and who is likely to be effective at spreading them."