Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience
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Happiness: The Contagion Theory

Happiness: The Contagion Theory | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | 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!"


Via Jocelyn Stoller, Ruth Obadia
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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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A Better Kind of Happiness - The New Yorker

A Better Kind of Happiness - The New Yorker | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Will Storr examines the concept of eudaemonic happiness, first proposed by Aristotle, and how it may be beneficial to human health.
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Invisibilia: Is Your Personality Fixed, Or Can You Change Who You Are?

Invisibilia: Is Your Personality Fixed, Or Can You Change Who You Are? | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
A man committed a horrible crime. Then he decided he no longer wanted to be a bad person. It is possible to change our personalities, psychologists say, even though we like to think they're innate.
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The mind isn’t locked in the brain but extends far beyond it – Keith Frankish | Aeon Ideas

Where is your mind? Where does your thinking occur? Where are your beliefs? René Descartes thought that the mind was an immaterial soul, housed in the pineal gland near the centre of the brain. Nowadays, by contrast, we tend to identify the min
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Consciousness: The Mind Messing With the Mind

Consciousness: The Mind Messing With the Mind | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Science is struggling to figure out if we, or even a thermostat, truly possess matter beyond the physical.
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This Is What Negativity Does To Your Immune System, And It's Not Pretty - Forbes

This Is What Negativity Does To Your Immune System, And It's Not Pretty - Forbes | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Can high levels of negative or unpleasant emotions cause brain damage? This question was originally answered on Quora by Fabian van den Berg.
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Are We Who We Think We Are?

Are We Who We Think We Are? | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
"I am who I think you think I am." - Charles Horton Cooley
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How Romanticism Ruined Love

The set of ideas we can call Romanticism is responsible for making our relationships extremely difficult. We shouldn’t give up on love; we should jus
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Why You're So Afraid of Change (and What You Can Do About It)

Why You're So Afraid of Change (and What You Can Do About It) | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Change freaks us out—probably even more than public speaking, but it's the sort of amorphous issue that we don't think about because it manifests itself subtly in so many ways. Whether a relationship starts or ends, you're moving, you've got a new job, or you've lost someone you love, change—whether it's good or bad—causes stress. Here's how it works and how to handle it without losing your mind.
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Can Reading Make You Happier?

Can Reading Make You Happier? | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Ceridwen Dovey on how bibliotherapists Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin prescribe fiction for healing and self-exploration.
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The professor who thinks video games will be the downfall of men | Pete Etchells

The professor who thinks video games will be the downfall of men | Pete Etchells | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Pete Etchells: Philip Zimbardo is worried that playing video games too much, or watching too much porn, is crippling masculinity. But the evidence just doesn’t back up these sorts of claims
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The Hive Hypothesis

The Hive Hypothesis | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
A core concept in our culture is that we are individuals in competition with other individuals. Like chimpanzees roaming th
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Animal Farm - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Animal Farm

Animal Farm is an allegorical and dystopian novella by George Orwell, first published in England on 17 August 1945. According to Orwell, the book reflects events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and then on into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union.

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Our sinister, soul-sapping happiness industry

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On a recent sodden weekend walk, I tried to cheer myself up by thinking: it’s not so bad. Not the slugs…
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Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships?

Can Attachment Theory Explain All Our Relationships? | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
The most important parenting you’ll ever do happens before your child turns one — and may affect her for the rest of her life. One mother’s journey through the science of attachment.
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Study shows complex ideas can enter consciousness automatically | SF State News

Study shows complex ideas can enter consciousness automatically | SF State News | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
The latest research from SF State's Ezequiel Morsella lends further support to the groundbreaking theory that your consciousness is less in control than you think.
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Is Selfie Culture Making Our Kids Selfish? - NYTimes.com

Is Selfie Culture Making Our Kids Selfish? - NYTimes.com | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
The psychologist and parenting expert Michele Borba says society’s fixation with the selfie is having some unintended consequences. She sees children mimicking not-so-nice behavior in adults and fewer grown-ups calling them out.
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Derek's curator insight, July 4, 2:09 PM
reprendre pied dans le regard intelligent : celui qui vient du coeur , dès la maternelle ...afin de développer une société ancrée dans la réalité ....et la vérité : à la base du respect nécessaire pour des relations libres et heureuses entre tous ; rien d'utopique dans cela , juste un peu de courage et de volonté
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Jesse Bogner Talking To Teens in Israel about Substance Abuse
- YouTube

Author of The Egotist Jesse Bogner tells teens in Israel about all his substance abuse issues that started when he was 13. He talks about how his parents' divorce impacted him and constantly feeling anxiety, even though he was surrounded by people who loved him. Toward the end he talks about Johann Hari's book Chasing The Scream and how true it is that all these issues stem from a lack of connection. If we fix our environment Jesse explains, there wouldn't be any addicts.
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In Praise of Hugs

We live in a culture which, while it pays lipservice to hugging, doesn't quite appreciate its true significance and poignancy. If you like our films take
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A Circle of Gifts

A Circle of Gifts | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
Wherever I go and ask people what is missing from their lives, the most common answer (if they are not impoverished or seriously ill) is "community." What happened to community, and why don't we have it any more? There are many reasons – the layout of suburbia, the disappearance of public space, the automobile and the television, the high mobility of people and jobs – and, if you trace the "why's" a few levels down, they all implicate the money system.
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Loneliness Is a Warning Sign to Be Social - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus

Loneliness Is a Warning Sign to Be Social - Facts So Romantic - Nautilus | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
In 2002, a group of adults aged 50 and over answered a series of questions about their physical and mental health. A subset of the…
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'A crisis of masculinity': men are struggling to cope with life

'A crisis of masculinity': men are struggling to cope with life | Psychology, Sociology & Neuroscience | Scoop.it
A report by the mental health charity CALM has found that men are struggling
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professional lives
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Us and Them

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The book Us and Them: The Science of Identity, David Berreby is published by University of Chicago Press.
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