Emotions Spread Through Facebook Can Be Contagious

SAN DIEGO (CBS Sacramento) – Do you get vicarious joy or sadness from reading a friend’s Facebook status?

The answer is yes, according to a group of researchers at the University of California, San Diego.

They conducted an experiment to see if posts about rainy weather in Chicago would affect Facebook users in San Diego.

“When it rains on you, you write more negative posts than positive, but it affects your friends too,” James H. Fowler, professor of medical genetics and political sciences at UCSD, told CBS News.

“Actually one to two people out there will feel what you are feeling, what’s happening is transmission.”

Fowler and his colleagues found that rainfall directly affected status updates. And in turn that influenced the posts of friends who live in cities with better weather.

For every person whose posts were affected negatively by the weather, 1.29 percent of his or her friends posted similarly negative status updates.

Positive posts appeared to be even more contagious than negative ones. For every person who posted a positive status update, 1.75 percent of his or her friends also posted a positive status update.

(TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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