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Happiness and Sadness Spread Just Like Disease
Dissent: Volume 6 of the Helter Skelter Anthology of New Writing

Happiness and Sadness Spread Just Like Disease

Brandon Keim reports for Wired magazine —

“There may be a literal truth underlying the common-sense intuition that happiness and sadness are contagious.

“A new study on the spread of emotions through social networks shows that these feelings circulate in patterns analogous to what’s seen from epidemiological models of disease.

“Earlier studies raised the possibility, but had not mapped social networks against actual disease models.

“Earlier analyses found that a variety of habits and feelings, including obesity, loneliness, smoking and happiness appear to be contagious.

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“Happiness proved less social than sadness. Each happy friend increased an individual’s chances of personal happiness by 11 percent, while just one sad friend was needed to double an individual’s chance of becoming unhappy.”

Read the entire article here.

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