Monday, December 08, 2008

On an upbeat note

Study Finds Joy To Be Contagious
Harvard Crimson - 3 hours ago
By NIHA S JAIN It’s long been said that laughter is contagious, and now, it turns out, so is happiness. Happiness is not an individual but a collective phenomenon, according to a new study released online Thursday in the British Medical Journal.
The happiness equation Science a Gogo
Happiness Has a Life of Its Own Daily News Central

From the third link above, Rita Jenkins writes:
Nicholas Christakis, a physician and social scientist at Harvard Medical School and James Fowler, an associate professor of political science at the University of California, San Diego, examined the way happiness spreads through a social network and learned that it travels not only from person to person, but also to people up to three degrees removed -- friends of friends of friends, in other words.

The scientists took data from the well-known Framingham Heart Study, and were able to recreate a social network of almost 5,000 people who had answered questions about their subjective feelings of happiness over a 20-year period -- whether they felt hopeful about the future, for example.

Not surprisingly, people closest to each other had the greatest impact on happiness levels. But people who were so far removed they might never even have met also had an observable effect.
I lament the Harvard Crimson headline confusing joy with happiness, but the topic is fascinating. I believe my sainted namesake urged us to "encourage one another." I know that when fellow bloggers share good news it lifts my spirits.
--the BB

1 comment:

The Cunning Runt said...

I believe these recent studies also demonstrated that sadness was less contagious than happiness. As a function of social networking, that makes absolute sense.