How Happiness Is Contagious
By Tim Jarvis
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the May 2009 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
“Six degrees of separation” isn’t just a good plot line. Science shows the theory has dramatic implications for spreading cheer from one person to the next.
The theory that everyone on the planet is only a half dozen people away from knowing everyone else was popularized by John Guare‘s 1993 movie Six Degrees of Separation. Now research by a pair of social scientists might have Hollywood thinking of a sequel: Three Degrees of Connection.
Using statistical analyses of thousands of subjects, a study in The British Medical Journal has shown that happiness actually spreads from person to person, up to three connections away. “So if your friend’s friend’s friend becomes happier, it ripples through the network and affects you, even if you don’t know that person,” says author Nicholas Christakis, MD, a medical sociology professor at Harvard Medical School. Proximity plays a part: A happy sibling who is a mile away … Read more on Oprah’s site; http://www.oprah.com/spirit/Happiness-is-Contagious