Voting period for this idea type has passed

Neuroscience Explains Popularity of Quora

Conversations between strangers often start with questions: What do you do for a living? What is your major? What is your sign? The question and answer (Q&A) exchange is fundamental to our daily social interactions.

What is it about Q&A that makes it primed for online community formation? There are many popular online Q&A services: Quora, Yahoo! Answers, StackOverflow to name a few. For each, millions of people from around the world contribute tremendous knowledge for free. What is the secret formula behind unlocking this crowd-sourced magic?

The presentation reviews fundamentals of what neuroscience has uncovered about social behavior, and how that explains the popularity of and mechanism behind Q&A sites. There will be practical takeaways on how you can apply neurological principles to site and community design - including topics such as gamification and incentive theory.

The presenters are PhDs in Economics from Harvard and Neuroscience from UCSF.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. What is the neurological basis of why Q&A exchange elicits such strong responses?
  2. Why do people contribute great answers to Q&A sites for free?
  3. What kind of content makes for a good Q&A site?
  4. What is different between a forum site and a Q&A site?
  5. What principles help structure a great Q&A site?



Yumio Saneyoshi, Product Manager, Google

Add Comments

comments powered by Disqus

SXSW reserves the right to restrict access to or availability of comments related to PanelPicker proposals that it considers objectionable.

Show me another