Tag Archives: Scientific American

Blogging as Placebo?

In my feed reader today I found an article from The Scholarly Kitchen about how blogging is good for you.

“Hah!” I chortled. “Scientific proof that I’m not wasting my time!”

The Scientific American article that was the basis of the post started out so well, describing the “therapeutic benefits of writing about personal experiences,” both psychological and physiological. (Hey: did you know blogging cures cancer? And it’s a happy pill without a prescription!)

But then things started to get a little less complimentary toward us bloggers (emphasis added):

As social creatures, humans have a range of pain-related behaviors, such as complaining, which acts as a “placebo for getting satisfied,” Flaherty says. Blogging about stressful experiences might work similarly.

People with Wernicke’s aphasia speak in gibberish and often write constantly. In light of these traits, Flaherty speculates that some activity in this area could foster the urge to blog.

Located mainly in the midbrain, the limbic system controls our drives, whether they are related to food, sex, appetite, or problem solving. “You know that drives are involved [in blogging] because a lot of people do it compulsively,” Flaherty notes.

Well. I think they just likened blogging to complaining, spouting gibberish, and uncontrollable monkey-brain drives.


Then the article’s author redeemed herself with this last paragraph:

Some hospitals have started hosting patient-authored blogs on their Web sites as clinicians begin to recognize the therapeutic value. Unlike a bedside journal, blogging offers the added benefit of receptive readers in similar situations, Morgan explains: “Individuals are connecting to one another and witnessing each other’s expressions—the basis for forming a community.

That’s right, we’re forming community! Remote, electronically mediated, asynchronous, nonsensory community.

But hey, I’ll take it.

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Filed under Blogging, Health, Rants, Silliness and Mayhem