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Thread: Moods spreading from one person to another

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    Off-topic content removed.
    Paraltih


    How people feel can be determined not only by the state of mind of those closest to us, but also by friends of friends that we have never met and who may live hundreds of miles away, claim scientists.

    Furthermore, behaviour including drinking, smoking and even obesity can spread in a similar manner, claimed Harvard Medical School sociologist Dr Nicholas Christakis in New Scientist magazine.

    He and his team made their conclusions after analysing 53,228 social connections between 5,124 individuals over time.

    They found a happy friend increased the odds of someone being happy by 15 per cent - but that a friend of a friend boosted the chance by about 10 per cent, and a friend of a friend of a friend by about six per cent.

    That was triple the two per cent chance of being happier caused by a 3,500 pay rise.

    Dr Christakis said: "If you drop one pebble in a pond, it will create ripples out from the pebble."

    He added: "Most people will not be surprised that people with more friends are happier, but what really matters is whether those friends are happy."

    Moods - good and bad - tended to travel more freely in same-sex groups, they found.

    Despite physical proximity, the mood of a cohabiting partner was less than 10 per cent likely to have an effect.

    Last year his team found obesity appeared to be transmitted in a similar way to moods.

    A person's risk of gaining weight increased significantly when friends gained weight, he found. If their friends gained weight a similar but lesser effect was evident on the individual.

    He said: "Obesity appears to spread through social ties."

    Professor James Fowler of the University of California, who has been involved in the research, said each 'happy connection' increased the chance of a person's happiness by nine per cent and each 'unhappy connection' decreased it by seven per cent.

    Sceptics may question how a person one has never met can have a direct influence on mood, and ask how the effects of individual friendships can be teased out of a mass of social connections.


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    Forum Cosmic Wizard paralith's Avatar
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    mbokohutu, thank you for responding to my request to provide sourced empirical information. I've read before about the research you've described above, and I think it's a very interesting how people effect each other. As a social species, I can see how these types of psychological effects could be adaptive for encouraging group cohesion.

    As I don't think this relates to the genetics of homosexuality, I will split these posts into a new thread. I will leave it in Biology for now but if you'd prefer I can move it to Behavioral and Social Sciences.


    Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.
    ~Jean-Paul Sartre
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    Moods do spread from person to person. Neuropsych confirms this. As most psychology students know, the medial prefrontal cortex is activated when people "mentalize" their own mental state and those of others...therefore, there is an interconnectivity of self and "collective self", as I call it...the fact that the same area activates in response to your own moods and those of others indicates that evolution has hardwired us with a sense of empathy...perhaps to aid in group survival...
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    It also demonstrates that the management technique of avoiding negative people is based upon real substance.
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    Forum Freshman LoKo1Wolf's Avatar
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    Isnt there a saying about that?

    "you are as one with those that are around you."

    or something like that i forgot.
    The_Wolf
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    Quote Originally Posted by LoKo1Wolf
    Isnt there a saying about that?

    "you are as one with those that are around you."

    or something like that i forgot.
    I just know that, according to Jung, we all share a collective unconscious...but I believe we also share collective conscious states in some circumstances. Granted, some sociopaths are an exception to the rule, but if we can all experience the exact same emotions at the same time, what else would one call it besides a "collective conscious state"?
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    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    Quote Originally Posted by LoKo1Wolf
    Isnt there a saying about that?

    "you are as one with those that are around you."

    or something like that i forgot.
    I just know that, according to Jung, we all share a collective unconscious...but I believe we also share collective conscious states in some circumstances. Granted, some sociopaths are an exception to the rule, but if we can all experience the exact same emotions at the same time, what else would one call it besides a "collective conscious state"?
    It's just empathy- we, like most social species, can pick up emotional states from conscious and subconscious cues presented by other members of our species. Facial expressions, body language, vocalisations- we are constantly open to these. Also, when we see a person in circumstances we are familiar with, we can easily put ourselves in their shoes. Sociopaths do indeed struggle with empathy. But that is not enough to explain their behaviour, as autism spectrum individuals also appear to struggle with empathy, even down to lacking theory of mind, yet are not dangerous.
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    empathy
    With empathy, timing isn't an issue. You can feel empathy at any time, thus it isn't always a "collective conscious state" (probably a misnomer but can't yet think of a better term) by my definition, because the emotions must be felt at the same time and place. But yes, you could classify it as a subtype of empathy.
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    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gottspieler
    empathy
    With empathy, timing isn't an issue. You can feel empathy at any time, thus it isn't always a "collective conscious state" (probably a misnomer but can't yet think of a better term) by my definition, because the emotions must be felt at the same time and place. But yes, you could classify it as a subtype of empathy.
    Is there evidence to suggest that a "collective conscious state" actually exists beyond empathy? I've never heard of anything of the sort.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Is there evidence to suggest that a "collective conscious state" actually exists beyond empathy? I've never heard of anything of the sort.

    Riots?
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    Not to be a language nazi, but "empathy" and "sympathy" are often wrongly interchanged, and this thread is unexceptional.

    (look 'em up)
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mormoopid
    Quote Originally Posted by TheBiologista
    Is there evidence to suggest that a "collective conscious state" actually exists beyond empathy? I've never heard of anything of the sort.

    Riots?
    And how is rioting inadequately explained based on responses to visual/auditory etc. emotional cues from other people?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Not to be a language nazi, but "empathy" and "sympathy" are often wrongly interchanged, and this thread is unexceptional.

    (look 'em up)
    Hey thanks, I'm aware of the difference. Sympathy is an understanding of another persons probable emotional state, coupled with feelings which drive a consistent concern for that emotional state. Empathy is a direct mirroring of an emotional state observed in another. The two are connected but distinct. I'm pretty sure I've been using "empathy" correctly. Have I got it wrong?
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    Not to be a language nazi, but "empathy" and "sympathy" are often wrongly interchanged,
    There is also "apathy", where you just don't care about the distinction.
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