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Happiness: The Contagion Theory

Happiness: The Contagion Theory | Heal the world | Scoop.it

"Have you ever noticed how being around nutsy/negative people can make you feel nutsy/negative?

Psychologists call this “emotional contagion” – and there’s even evolutionary reasons for why someone else’s curmudgeonly ways can infect you.

“The original form is the contagion of fear and alarm,” said Frans de Waal, a psychologist and primate expert at Atlanta’s Emory University. “You’re in a flock of birds. One bird suddenly takes off. You have no time to wait and see what’s going on. You take off, too. Otherwise, you’re lunch.”

Translation: Getting caught up in another’s negativity is a hard-wired survival mechanism.

“I have often noticed how primate groups in their entirety enter a similar mood,” de Waal said. “All of a sudden, all of them are playful, hopping around. Or all of them are grumpy. Or all of them are sleepy and settle down. In such cases, the mood contagion serves the function of synchronizing activities. The individual who doesn’t stay in tune with what everyone is doing will lose out, like the traveler who didn’t go the restroom when the bus stopped.”

Translation: Contagion theory of happiness also explains the powerful energy of “mob mentality” and why there’s a tendency for groups of people in a movie theater or concert to share a similar feeling for the move or concert.

Plus psychologists believe that “the contagion theory of happiness” is yet another form of our hard-wired mimicry we humans do – our instinctive human tendency to unconsciously imitate other people’s facial expressions, vocalizations, postures, and body movements.

For example, if someone scratches their nose, you might suddenly feel your nostrils twitch. Or if someone yawns and stretches and gets sleepy, you might yawn and feel more tired too.

Indeed, mimicry is such a strong foundation of our human emotional development that even at a mere 1-hour old, a newborn infant will be hard-wired to mimic a person’s facial gestures.

Hence why you can smile at 1-hour old baby, and this 1-hour old baby will smile back!

Translation: Our built-in human system for mimicry, explains why we humans can transfer our good and bad moods to each other.

The Journal of Applied Psychology offered up a study which showed the downer effects of a downer leader on a group. They took 189 volunteer undergraduates, divided them into 63 groups of 3, and told them they were taking part in a team-building exercise to put up a tent. Then a “leader” was chosen for each team, and shown either of video clip of a “Saturday Night Live” skits or a vignette on torture — to create either a positive/up beat mood or a negative/downer mood.

The result: If a leader was up, the team members’ moods rose. But if the leader was down, everyone became down.

Numerous other studies have also shown how when one person in a romantic coupling gets depressed, the other also becomes more depressed.

Psychologists believe this transfer of emotions is yet another form of empathy.

In London’s University College, psychologist Tonia Singer and colleagues used brain scans to explore empathy in 19 romantic couples. She hooked both individuals to brain scans. One partner in the couple was given a slight electric shock while the other partner watched. Each of their scans showed identical brain reactions. Although only one partner was shocked, both of the partner’s pain center lighted up – as if both had been jolted.

On a more happy note… Howard Friedman, a psychologist at University of California at Irvine thinks “emotional contagion” is also why some people can move and inspire others to positive action – like a good coach or a powerful preacher – or a joyous/exuberant partner in a romantic coupling.

Friedman believes it’s because the happy person’s happy facial expression, happy voice, happy gestures and happy body movements all together conspire to transmit happy emotions to all those around the happy person!"


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Angie Mc's curator insight, December 16, 2013 11:56 PM

Today decide to be a HAPPINESS TRANSMITTER! <- Like that :)

Miguel Garcia's curator insight, December 19, 2013 5:48 AM

tal vez no sea la felicidad lo q se contagia pero si el estado de ánimo.

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How to Heal The Lungs Naturally -

How to Heal The Lungs Naturally - | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Our lungs are essential to life, so taking care of them is crucial, especially when bombarded with poor food choices, poor air quality and lack of exercise. The lungs come equipped with their own self-cleaning system (the cilia, which move bad stuff out of alveoli – air sacs – into the trachea), however, this system […]
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Spinal stimulation helps four patients with paraplegia regain voluntary movement

Spinal stimulation helps four patients with paraplegia regain voluntary movement | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Groundbreaking results bring new hope for those with spinal cord injury – NIH study
Ruth Obadia's insight:

“The fact that the brain is able to take advantage of the few connections that may be remaining, and then process this complicated visual, auditory, and perceptual information, is pretty amazing. It tells us that the information from the brain is getting to the right place in the spinal cord, so that the person can control, with fairly impressive accuracy, the nature of the movement,” said Edgerton.

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Parents worldwide agree: Kids need more time outside

Parents worldwide agree: Kids need more time outside | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Homework and a discomfort about being outdoors are the 2 reasons cited for why U.S. kids aren't experiencing more nature.
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The Psychology Of Forgiving And Forgetting - Huffington Post

The Psychology Of Forgiving And Forgetting - Huffington Post | Heal the world | Scoop.it
The Psychology Of Forgiving And Forgetting
Huffington Post
Nicholas Kristoff's latest New York Times column was sad and moving.
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But it's possible, the scientists conclude, that forgiving and forgetting reinforce one another in the human mind. Even if forgiveness is effortful at first, people who manage it may be better at setting bitter thoughts aside, and this forgetting may in turn provide an effective coping strategy, enabling people to move on -- and ultimately to forgive in their hearts.

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Government and Industry Must Work Together to Solve Our Education Crisis

Don't miss new Big Think videos! Subscribe by clicking here: http://goo.gl/CPTsV5 Dino Varkey, Group Chief Operating Officer and Board Member of GEMS Educati...
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How To Motivate People: 4 Steps Backed By Science | TIME

How To Motivate People: 4 Steps Backed By Science | TIME | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Employees, spouses, kids — what does it take to get people motivated so you don’t have to nag them? Motivation is powerful. It predicts success better than intelligence, ability, or salary.
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Rescooped by Ruth Obadia from Inequality, Poverty, and Corruption: Effects and Solutions
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Researchers: More U.S. mothers staying at home because of unemployment

Researchers: More U.S. mothers staying at home because of unemployment | Heal the world | Scoop.it
More mothers in the United States are staying home, but the increase is linked more to unemployment and demographic changes than to choice, a study published Tuesday suggested.

Via Jocelyn Stoller
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NASA Space Assets Detect Ocean inside Saturn Moon

NASA Space Assets Detect Ocean inside Saturn Moon | Heal the world | Scoop.it
NASA's Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network have uncovered evidence Saturn's moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean of liquid water, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes.
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Event on Monday: What happened to 'the soul'?

Event on Monday: What happened to 'the soul'? | Heal the world | Scoop.it
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Rescooped by Ruth Obadia from Interesting Insight, Quotations, Vintage & Gurus
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Cientistas identificam o fator que mais contribui com a felicidade

Cientistas identificam o fator que mais contribui com a felicidade | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Neste emocionante vídeo, cientistas fazem uma experiência com pessoas para encontrar o principal fator que contribui para a felicidade delas

Via VISÃO\\VI5I0NTHNG
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The Universe Made Me Do It? Testing “Free Will” With Distant Quasars - The Nature of Reality

The Universe Made Me Do It? Testing “Free Will” With Distant Quasars - The Nature of Reality | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Scientists usually assume we can freely choose what kinds of experiments to perform. After all, how could we ever hope to learn anything about the world...
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Why dark chocolate is good for us: Thank the germs in your gut - Science & Medicine

Why dark chocolate is good for us: Thank the germs in your gut - Science & Medicine | Heal the world | Scoop.it
'Good' bacteria in the gut feast on chocolate, ferment it, and produce anti-inflammatory compounds.
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Indians are second largest users of MIT-Harvard online courses - The Times of India

Indians are second largest users of MIT-Harvard online courses - The Times of India | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Over 2.5 lakh Indians have registered for courses on edX, the massive open online course platform founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.
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The hidden power of smiling

The hidden power of smiling | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Ron Gutman reviews a raft of studies about smiling, and reveals some surprising results. Did you know your smile can be a predictor of how long you'll live -- and that a simple smile has a measurable effect on your overall well-being?
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Rescooped by Ruth Obadia from Education Top Picks
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Turning Prisons into Schools: John L. at TEDxMonroeCorrectionalComplex

Amidst high incarceration and recidivism rates, John believes we can do better. His vision for transforming prisons into schools will challenge and inspire. ...

Via Dana Hoffman, VISÃO\\VI5I0NTHNG
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‘Going to sleep hungry, it’s kind of a lonely feeling’

‘Going to sleep hungry, it’s kind of a lonely feeling’ | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Food insecurity rises on college campuses as tuition increases and more low-income students enroll.
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The Global Search for Education: Teacher Education - Huffington Post (blog)

The Global Search for Education: Teacher Education - Huffington Post (blog) | Heal the world | Scoop.it
The Global Search for Education: Teacher Education Huffington Post (blog) Jari Lavonen, Professor of Science Education and head of department at the University of Helsinki, Finland, will be speaking about teacher education in Finland with a...
Ruth Obadia's insight:

"The 21st century "movement" refers to the redefining of the goals of education and how learning is organized in order to meet the demands of the 21st century."

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» When Unconditional Love Has Conditions - World of Psychology

» When Unconditional Love Has Conditions - World of Psychology | Heal the world | Scoop.it
I was once working with a group of teenagers discussing “integrity agreements,” which I described as “either spoken or unspoken agreements not to hurt each (When Unconditional Love Has Conditions | World of Psychology
Ruth Obadia's insight:

So my invitation is to contemplate this concept — and feel free to share. What does unconditional love mean to you? Can you love someone and still choose not to be around them? Is it more “spiritual” to put up with behavior in the name of love, or to love yourself enough to draw boundaries?

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Eyes: The Windows to Your Health

Eyes: The Windows to Your Health | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Your eyes are tiny spheres of wonder. A doctor can find warning signs of high blood pressure, diabetes, and a whole range of other systemic health issues, just by examining your eyes. Ophthalmologist Neal Adams explains why the eye's tissues and blood vessels make such a good barometer for wellness.
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More than 1/3 of European MOOCs come from Spain | Public Policy Blog

More than 1/3 of European MOOCs come from Spain  |  Public Policy Blog | Heal the world | Scoop.it
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Rescooped by Ruth Obadia from Interesting Insight, Quotations, Vintage & Gurus
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House Matters

Animation piece about a current subject in Spain, where I happened to be born. Internationalising music by Los Manolos.

Via VISÃO\\VI5I0NTHNG
Ruth Obadia's insight:

We're in a more and more interconnected world but we don't want to be connected

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VISÃO\\VI5I0NTHNG's curator insight, April 3, 4:50 AM

We're in a more and more interconnected world but we don't want to be connected

Rescooped by Ruth Obadia from Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience
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Happiness is Contagious and Powerful on Social Media — PsyBlog

Happiness is Contagious and Powerful on Social Media — PsyBlog | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Study of over one billion status updates finds that positive emotions are more contagious than negative.

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Destroy the Flu With These 3 Herbs! - Natural News Blogs

Destroy the Flu With These 3 Herbs! - Natural News Blogs | Heal the world | Scoop.it
National influenza trackers have noticed the flu virus begins circulating before it typically has in the years before. What this means is plenty of people suffering with high temperatures, achy bodies, and plenty of sore throats and sneezing taking place…
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What Is Systems Thinking? - Peter Senge Explains Systems Thinking Approach And Principles - Mutual Responsibility

What Is Systems Thinking? - Peter Senge Explains Systems Thinking Approach And Principles - Mutual Responsibility | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Ruth Obadia's insight:
A Fundamental Principle Of Systems Thinking: Smart Individuals Are No Longer Needed, Collective Intelligence Is
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Human nose can detect 1 trillion odours - Nature.com

Human nose can detect 1 trillion odours - Nature.com | Heal the world | Scoop.it
Nature.com
Human nose can detect 1 trillion odours
Nature.com
The human nose has roughly 400 types of scent receptors that can detect at least 1 trillion different odours.
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