Skip to main content

Social contagion


Read this article in today's New York Times: Is happiness catching?

James H Fowler and Nicholas A Christakis have published quite a few papers on social networking and how it affects the behaviour of people. A couple of papers describe the patterns in gain of weight and smoking habits of residents of a town Framingham during the period of 30 years. Their findings suggest that these changes do not occur randomly but in clusters or groups of people who are socially connected. I was not surprised to learn that smoking habits spread in this manner. But I had not thought the same way regarding some other parameters that they studied including "happiness". They report that unhappiness or happiness extends upto three degrees of separation, e.g. friends of one's friends' friends and this part of their work has been questioned by many in the same field. I would like to read some of their papers which have been published in high impact journals like NEJM and BMJ.

I find such research work which deals with social behaviour and psychology very exciting. Will see if I can get involved in any similar project sometime in future. But my current research work doesn't provide me with any expertise which will be required for this slightly distant field. :(

Comments

zilcogol said…
Lets see...
You say pschology and social behaviour interests you... well if it really does and you are any good at it... please tell me "what made me /why have i" commented on your last three posts?
Shazia said…
The first comment you wrote was in reply to my comment on Jammy's blog. And then may be you read some other recent posts on my blog and you either liked them or found them interesting, that made you write the other two comments. Am i right? Or do you have some ulterior motives? Tell me...
And yes, I still don't know whether you are a guy or a girl. :)
zilcogol said…
Interesting!

I am a guy.
I hope thats ok?
zilcogol said…
"IF" I have/had ulterior motives... You would not be the first one I would confide in.
dreamer said…
The thing about these researches though is that they are followed by other researches which contradict them

Popular posts from this blog

A poem from childhood...

"Long legged Italy, kicked poor Sicily
In the middle of Mediterranean Sea.
Austria was Hungary
Took a bit of Turkey
Fried it in Japan
Dipped it in Greece...."

I remember only this much. This poem was my first attempt at learning the names of these countries and locating them on the map of the world. And I thought Austria and Australia were same. :-)

It's time to confirm that I was wrong at that point of time, some twenty years back...

The Creeper

Do you remember the day you were born? I do. Or, at least I would like to believe that I do. My tiny arms pushed against the mother earth, cracking it open so that I could get the first glimpse of the new world that was going to be my home. I was expecting some kind of magic but reality seemed to be far less magical. It was cold and dark outside and I almost regretted being born. But I shrugged off that thought and decided to give the world one more chance. Tired and pale, I rested my head on the bosom of mother earth and fell asleep.

Things looked a little brighter when I woke up. It wasn't dark anymore. Something far up in the sky shined brightly. It was the sun, I learned later. I felt stronger and noticed that I was not pale anymore. My arms were now turning green and a tiny leaf was about to unfurl, my first leaf.

Many cold nights and sunny days went by and I grew taller, or may be I should say longer because I could never rise up and away from the earth. I was surrounded by…

Healing and conquering myself, one tiny step at a time

"It is not the mountains we conquer but ourselves."
-Edmund Hillary
Two years back, when I had set out on my first trek in the Himalayas, I did not know what I was getting into. It began as a quest, a search for the place that I was dreaming about for the last few years. Valley of Flowers in Uttarakhand did turn out to be straight out of my dream and I still cannot believe it. I remember sitting on that large asymmetrical rock for more than an hour, looking at the snow-clad mountains and scribbling in my diary as the cool wind blew in my face and the sun tried its best to warm my fingers. 
Less than a year later, I went back to the mountains and it was then that I realized that I was meant to go back, not once or twice or thrice, I just have to be there every once in a while. May be that recurring dream had a bigger purpose than calling me to the Valley of Flowers. May be someone up there knew that it was just a beginning. And now that it has started, it shall go on till my…