Squabbling babies? Why certain videos go viral

baby twins with one pacifier

Still from YouTube video (one of many) on squabbling twins.

When a friend passed along a “hilarious and heartbreaking” video of twin babies squabbling over a pacifier, Berkeley psychology professor Tania Lombrozo initially resisted the temptation to share it — but eventually succumbed, she writes on the National Public Radio website.

When Lombrozo did a search on YouTube, she turned up “more than 8,000 results for the search terms ‘twins fight over pacifier,'” she says. “This made me wonder: What makes such a mundane interaction between siblings so shareable?”

Social scientists, as well as marketers, have a keen interest in understanding why certain videos go viral, and which ones tend to prompt copycat memes. Read Lombrozo’s commentary on “13.7 cosmos & culture.”