Researchers from Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Diego says that happiness is collective and contagious among social networks. The study involving 5,000 people over 2 years was performed to determine the effects of unhappy person in the surrounding environment.
"We found that the emotions of people affected by someone else, perhaps even strangers at all. The effect will be felt from others, others, and others," said Nicholas Christakis, a professor from Harvard Medical School as from ScienceDaily, Monday (10/19/2009).
Over 2 years, researchers conducted a survey and analyzing the data that links between happiness and health of a person with a situation in which the scope of its social network-family, friends, coworkers, neighbors and others.
By using the standard system of the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression Index, note that when someone is happy, a friend who lived 1 mile away to increase happiness as much as 25 percent. Meanwhile, siblings increased 14 percent and neighbors will increase 34 percent.
Not only that, a friend from your friends who may not know anything you can increase happiness by 10 percent.
"Although separated from the 5 people who are not known, but still within a network of friends or relatives, the happy effect was still there. This indicates a strong effect in a network even if they do not know each other intimately," Christakis said.
But Christakis says that the impact will be limited by distance and time. The closer the friends who stayed and are close to you, the stronger the transmission. This is what causes the neighbors had a big impact on happiness.
Researchers also found that people who become central in social networks tend to be happier among others. "With more and more people around him, the risk of transmission would be happy more and more," Christakis said.
In the social networking site, or Facebook are the current trends for example, one of the most commented on its status as a person who used to be the center of attention. They also will be happier as it gets attention and comments from the crowd.
This study shows that happiness and health of a person was highly influenced by the social environment around them. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine is expected to help those who are obese or someone who is isolated from its environment.