How Happiness Moves Through Social Networks
Article Introduction (Via Mind Hacks)
This week’s British Medical Journal has a wonderful social network study that examined how happiness moved through social networks. It found that even when friends of friends become happy, the effect can ripple through and boost your own contentment.
Article Excerpts (Via Mind Hacks)
While there are many determinants of happiness, whether an individual is happy also depends on whether others in the individual’s social network are happy. Happy people tend to be located in the centre of their local social networks and in large clusters of other happy people.
The happiness of an individual is associated with the happiness of people up to three degrees removed in the social network. Happiness, in other words, is not merely a function of individual experience or individual choice but is also a property of groups of people.
Indeed, changes in individual happiness can ripple through social networks and generate large scale structure in the network, giving rise to clusters of happy and unhappy individuals. These results are even more remarkable considering that happiness requires close physical proximity to spread and that the effect decays over time.