Chapter Two Summart Of Connected Essay

966 words - 4 pages

“When you smile, the world smiles with you”, a very intriguing concept, which is the title of the second chapter of Connected (2009) by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, that highlights their research of human emotions and how they spread through social networks. Emotions can spread from person to person, and network to network, they are essentially contagious; this includes fear, anxiety, loneliness, and happiness.
Christakis and Fowler state that emotions themselves contain several elements. Emotions contain a conscious element, meaning people are aware of what they’re feeling. They have a physical aspect; emotions are tied to an individuals’ health. They also have a neurological ...view middle of the document...

The authors explain that, MPI’s occur when an individual’s emotional state turns into a contagion that spreads beyond the immediate people involved. Meaning, it spreads from person to person like a virus. MPI’s have been known to spread across entire schools, towns, and cities. The authors studied multiple occurrences of MPI throughout history, and found that these occurrences happen because of individuals observing and mimicking others; they have a purely psychological base. However, most victims of MPI deny that it was psychological and believe the events to be true.
After researching MPI’s the authors wanted to know more about how emotions spread. They conducted experiments using the sampling method; a method that prompts participants within the experiment to record their emotions, to later be analyzed. Christakis and Fowler found that emotional states spread the strongest within family members, but the effects of the emotions were different between male and female family members. This raised the question of how happiness is spread, and if it could be caught like other emotions.
Christakis and Fowler discovered, yes, happiness does spread through social networks. It was also discovered that happy people make connections with happy people, and that unhappy people tend to connect more with others who are also unhappy. However, the percentage of an individual’s emotional affects on others was found to be generally small, and still applied to the authors Three Degrees of Influence rule (discussed in chapter one). The authors also found that the number of happy connections individuals have in their network increases the chances of being happy. This is also true with life events that cause happiness; they tend to give you a boost, so to speak, and therefore boost the happiness of the others around them. The authors continue to express additional findings that suggest happiness also plays a part in being healthy; more...

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