Don’t smile at everybody in New York City

December 5, 2008

According to Time, happiness has the traits of a communicable disease. Two doctors found that:

… an individual’s happiness is chiefly a collective affair, depending in large part on his or her friends’ happiness — and the happiness of their friends’ friends, and even the friends of their friends’ friends. The merriment of one person, the researchers found, can ripple out and cause happiness in people up to three degrees away. So if you’re happy, you increase the chance of joy in your close friend by 25%; a friend of that friend enjoys a 10% increased chance. And that friend’s friend has a 5.6% higher chance. 

However, if you want to wantonly spread cheer around, be very careful. As one of the doctors who authored the above mentioned study said,

“We are not giving you the advice to start smiling at everyone you meet in New York. That would be dangerous.”


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