STUDY: Emotions Are Contagious Via Facebook, Especially When Positive

By David Cohen 

WomenHoldingSmileyFaces650Don’t worry, be happy. And according to a study of more than 100 million anonymous U.S. Facebook users and more than 1 billion of their posts — conducted by Facebook and researchers at the University of California San Diego and Yale University — your happiness might spread to your Facebook friends.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the study found that emotions expressed in status updates tended to be contagious, but upbeat emotions were more likely to affect friends’ moods than negative emotions were.

According to the Journal, the researchers used a rainy day as an example, finding that the number of negative posts rose 1.16 percent, while the number of positive comments was down 1.19 percent. Once the status updates of friends in other cities were examined, each additional positive post lead to 1.75 more positive posts among friends, while each additional negative post resulted in 1.29 more negative posts by friends.

UC San Diego Political Scientist James Fowler, lead author of the study, told the Journal:

We wanted to see if emotional changes in one person caused emotional changes in another person, and that’s exactly what we found.

We wanted posts where it is raining on you and it is making you write negative posts that are not about the weather.

Readers: Are your experiences on Facebook similar to the study’s findings?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.