VIDEO SPECIAL: Why Do We Obsess Over Sports?
By Dr. James Palermo // June 30, 2014
PHYSIOLOGIC RESPONSE TO WINNING EXHILARATING
ASAPSCIENCE is the creative brainchild of two Canadians, Mitchell Moffit and Gregory Brown, who, after graduating from the University of Guelph with biology degrees, recognized the power of YouTube to inform and entertain.
Their very popular YouTube channel produces three-minute lessons that bring logic, reason, and scientific evidence to some of the most common of questions, the ones that everybody’s asking and no one’s actually answering, such as The Scientific Power of Naps, What Causes a Hangover?, The Scientific Hangover Cure, The Science Of Aging, Can Stress Kill You? and The Science Of Hair Loss, just to name a few.
In the video above they tackle the oft asked question: Why do people obsess over sports? It is undeniable that sports are an important cultural element all across the globe, with the passion and enthusiasm manifested in both participation in competition and enjoyment in watching others flex their muscles.
ASAPSCIENCE explains why fixating on stuff like World Cup Soccer, March Madness and the NFL playoffs is totally natural, and what makes you feel the way you do as you sit on the edge of your seat and experience an overwhelming surge of excitement when you see the pigskin split the uprights from 50 yards out to win the national championship for your alma mater.
Watching your team win or your favorite athlete excel stimulates the hormones testosterone and dopamine.
Testosterone is related to a feeling of dominance and encourages social interaction, and dopamine plays a major role in the “feel good” feeling of winning and also increases our memory and learning giving us the need to re-create the excitement we just can’t forget.
According to Moffit and Brown, spectator’s brain cells called “mirror neurons” amazingly match the brain activity of the participating athletes. Thus, whenever an athlete or a team wins a competition, their fans are almost as excited as they are.