Apparently it's more likely to be linked to psychological triggers in respect of having done something they see as being good and therefore expecting praise or recognition of that act. There are also tentative links here in respect of childhood attention.
It's a fascinating piece of work, but reading through, it occurred to me that it was very much attempting to rationalise and then almost demonise the practice. Or somehow trying to suggest that these people were broken on some level.
Could it also just be that they're proud of their achievement? Because they've worked hard and feel good about themselves? It seems to me that more and more research I read suggests theories for social media behaviour based on negative connotations which tries to pigeon-hole people into named or branded categories.
In 2008 Seth Godin published his book 'Tribes : We need you to lead us', about how people on social media are hungry for connection, belonging and meaning. His theory being that anyone could collect a tribe of like-minded people behind them to start a movement, achieve a goal or indeed, raise themselves up.
I read that book in 2010 and thought it was fantastic. Today I think it's a little negative and may be the reason why brands and businesses make a point of making their audiences fit into separate categories. It's no longer about building one tribe, but about building many, offset against each other. Think in terms of your either Apple or Android for example.
But at no point does any of this celebrate the individual. The uniqueness of people and how they interact on social, instead of being herded into channels or pens like social media sheep. It's 8 years since Seth Godin wrote Tribes, yet this research published in 2016 is still trying to achieve the same thing, in an increasingly negative way.
Perhaps our thinking needs to evolve? Perhaps brands and individuals need to take the next step in accepting customer uniqueness? Perhaps we all need to stop binning each other off into categories?
I challenge you all to do one thing every day that celebrates someone's uniqueness on social media. One thing that liberates someone from a 'tribe' that they've been unfairly labelled with.
And tell someone about it. Hell, tell everyone about it.