Viral videos: What makes us click and watch?

- All it takes is one post to social media and it can be a domino effect from there. A video becomes public and before you know it, millions have viewed it.

In the past week, three videos have saturated the news cycle. The latest one came in Florida at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport after Spirit Airlines canceled nine flights triggering fights and arrests inside the airport terminal.

Every day people acting in a questionable manner. Why can't we turn away or stop watching? According to Cindy Crane, a psychotherapist based in Maryland, watching these viral videos is similar to what is known the “rubberneck effect.”

“You’re going by an accident and ‘Oh my God, I hope everybody is okay. What is going to happen next?’” she explained. “It’s compelling.”

In South Florida this past weekend, a 68-year-old woman walking her dogs attempts to quiet down an unauthorized party at a community pool. The party revelers jeer and incite until she is dragged and tossed into the pool by a 16-year-old boy.

You see a barrage of cellphones capturing every second of the chaos. But what you don't see is anyone stepping in to help.

“The more that we are exposed to violence and anger and hatred, the more likely we come to accept that this is the norm, and it might be limiting how quickly we jump in to make a difference and help the person out,” Crane said.

Also posted over the weekend was a woman caught on video insulting a Muslim woman and her religion at a Virginia Trader Joe’s grocery store. The woman sees the cellphone recording her, but even that doesn't quell her rant.

“It’s hard for our brains to go through cognitive and emotional at the same time,” said Crane. “So the woman was ranting and very ramped up at that moment. I’m sure later, she thought, ‘Oh my God, what have I done? That person was clearly videotaping me. Why didn’t I stop?’”

So what makes these videos viral?

“The more shares, the more exciting it is, the more drama it is – we live in that 24/7 kind of drama cycle and it’s addictive,” said Crane.

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