Our Moods Are Infectious

November 15, 2010

Last week I was feeling out of sorts; nothing special just an overall feeling of the blahs. As I went through my week I kept running into friends and acquaintances that also had felt down. Was it simply a coincidence that all of these people were feeling the same way I was or was there some kind of connection? According to the latest research there probably is a direct relationship; we affect the moods of others more than we realize.

Each person has 3 degrees of influence; what I'm feeling affects you, your friend and your friend’s friend. I’m no mathematician but it doesn’t take much to realize that if I connect with 10 or 15 people over the course of a week and they in turn meet with 10 or 15 people who then connect with 10 or 15 more people very soon a whole community could be affected by my emotional state. This ability to influence others can cause riots, market crashes and the spread of product adoption. Social networks also spread good things like love and altruism and are fundamentally related to goodness.

The following TED Talk by Nicholas Christakis describes social networks and how they affect us all. It’s worth the time to listen so that you can begin to understand the far reaching effects we have on other people in our daily lives.








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