Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happiness: The Social Virus

Happiness spreads through social networks much like the flu, according to a recent study on happiness in social networks:
In a good mood? Your neighbor, her friends and even her friends' friends should thank you – you're likely infecting them with your cheer. Happiness spreads through social networks about as easily as the flu, according to a new study. 
The researchers analyzed data compiled from nearly 5,000 interconnected people over a 20-year period. After establishing a baseline mood for each participant, the team found that when one person became happier, it rippled through the network, increasing the likelihood that others would become happier too. 
Sadness, thankfully, is not nearly as infectious. An attack of the blues creates a much smaller ripple than a case of giddiness, said head researcher James Fowler of the University of California, San Diego.
Even more reason for hospitals to recruit happy nurses and happy doctors and avoid the surly ones, no? For more about the psychology of happiness, check out:

Updated 2015-12-16

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