I noticed two friends who use their mouse to repeatedly select and deselect text in web browsers as they read pages online. This is absolutely crazymaking for onlookers, but really satisfying for them.
I do this all the time (my favorite way is to triple-click the paragraph) and, yes, it drives people looking at my screen crazy.
Probably the other big one I do is to draw selection rectangles on my desktop or in a file manager window.
It’s inexplicable to me, but Chris mentions some possible reasons:
When I talk to each person about these behaviors, there’s not a lot of conscious decision-making going on here. The web-page-highlighters aren’t intending anything when they do this, it’s just something they enjoy doing. But even though these behaviors don’t help move any tasks or goals along, they’re satisfying. And because they provide a release for nervous energy and/or let us be expressive, they become an extension of ourselves to which we have some small emotional connection.
Ultimately, I don’t really care why, but it’s an interesting thing of note.