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Critical Review on Contagiousness of Happiness

  • Chan Jia En

In this work of critical evaluation, you will see an evaluation of the research work done about the impact on a person's well-being based on the well-being of the folks in the environment including their family that may be father, mom, siblings etc. The members of the family could be genetically related or not related; both cases will be considered as per the research work. The study that was conducted on both types of twins that is monozygotic and dizygotic will be mentioned too. It'll be seen that whether all these factors are co-related or not in framework with pleasure. The facet of social network and enjoyment of specific will be looked at.

Recently, a study study proved that enjoyment is contagious and it spreads through social networks, but on the other hand when the twin research was conducted, no such final result could be made because it mentioned that these factors aren't co-related, these factors got zero to no affect. Psychologists now give attention to positive capabilities than negative ones as it's been known that positive emotions are predictive. A research to discover this focuses on positive effects, negative effects and the satisfaction level of an individual with their own lives. Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire's (MPQ) well-being size is considered as a personality strategy. It could be said that if a person is optimistic and this state of mind persists for some time then the perspective of looking at things is positive too and they're co-related. Whether it's possible or not, to specify happiness, the analysis that is conducted on the two types of twins which will be the monozygotic and dizygotic shows that hereditary factors constitute 40-50% of pleasure variance as measured by MPQ and SWB.

There is a limitation to the technique of twin study for Monozygotic twins it is known as that they don't share an identical environment in comparison to that of the dizygotic twins. If it is assumed that monozygotic twins have an identical environment and this similarity is related to the observable characteristics, this is the behavioural habits or traits then your heritability. It would be overestimated and non-behavioural habits would be underestimated. That's the reason this non-behavioural method questions the conclusions discovered by the twin review.

Much attention was attracted to the study of the impact of contentment level of people when they are in their own sociable network. Because of this a sociable network analysis of pleasure was done by the authors (Fowler and Christakis, 2008) on the members of the Framingham Center Analysis. Regression model was used to start to see the impact of the contentment level of an individual on people in their area including friends, family members, and neighbours etc. This regression model centered on an individual. And the result was drawn that individuals are 15. 3% more likely to be happy if the people in their surrounding are happy. And this effect goes up to three levels in persons that is (good friend of a friend of a pal). Results drawn from the regression model says that contentment is contagious and disperse from person to person.

The data derived from this technique was used to study the interpersonal network results on many health related issues such as fatness and smoking. It really is discovered that the individuals getting combined with the people having the same kind appealing as them get clustered jointly. It is easily seen and recognized that how an individual's behaviors and behaviours can affect others encompassing them. And on the other hand contagion doesn't get justified whenever we consider factors that are skin problems, problems etc. Alternative Reason for the similarity must be considered which is important to do so.

According to Cohencole and Fletcher (2008b) cultural network design is not capable to immediately control the contextual influences and cannot rule them from the opportunity. Homophily is another possible reason for similarity. It's the ability of an individual to bond with the similar other individual. Fowler and Christakis (2008) included past alter and ego contentment in regressions, if the selection is not conditioned only on these factors homophily is still a chance. Individuals create their own environment by their selection of jobs, activities etc. and therefore they speak to the individuals with the similar traits.

There is one last restriction to Fowler and Christakis research that it includes the relatives in the network and hereditary influences are considered too. Since it includes members of the family which is obvious that family do reveal the genes and environment, the similarity between your specific and them could be because of either of both factors mentioned above. As well as the addition of the family members might imply the similarity between your egos and alter displays because they reveal the genetic effects rather than it being the interpersonal contagion. Study uncovers that away the 4, 739 egos included in the research, only 45% got friends in the network, 39% possessed their co-workers and only 10% acquired a neighbour in the network, snooze others that mean could be the family members and family and it means that majority had the family. So similarity is the factor considering the genes and the distributed environment.

To test the contagion hypothesis the study is conducted on the biological and adoptive members of the family. If happiness is usually to be considered contagious the members of the family would have the same happiness whether it be biologically related or not. A biometrical modelling of well-being is used which is the adoption design where adoptees share 0% of genes and 100% environment, so any of the similarity can be due to shared environment. If we include the adoptees, it helps to do the study in a better way because adoptees are not genetically related and so other characteristics can be appeared after too. Homophily can be controlled and kept up a check upon because they are only strangers in the family. Thus, by doing so, the effect of the genetically unrelated adoptee's contentment can be seen on the average person surviving in the same environment. So, here we can say that the contagion result cannot be segregated from the shared environment that is participating in role in the contentment co-relation of the average person. On the other side if the distributed environment does not play role in influencing the contentment then possibility of the contagion result can be eliminated this means that if an individual's well-being is not influenced even though he stocks the same environment as the other family whether it be adoptive or biological, friends then your contagion impact can be eliminated too. The physical proximity is more emphasized by the creators that lead to the contagion factor which means that the individuals in the research were all living in the same environment with the same people. This means that the contagion effect occurs because of more and more of interaction amidst each other. Since they see and connect to each other on a daily basis, the physical proximity is there. Since most the individuals were still living with their families, this might lead to plenty of contagion effect which would give a best effect for the contagion hypothesis.

Based on the twin studies, past experts have found no significant variance considering the shared environment. That's the reason they grow a need to check the result of distributed environment. We see that the effects of environment effects in the adoptive family analysis is found then regarding to Fowler and Christakis's research the behavioural genetic research might not exactly be completely out of way.

A research is conducted to check contagion hypothesis and the shared environment influence on the participants from the Sibling Relationship and Behaviour Research (SIBS). In this research each family made up of at least one parent or guardian and two adolescent offspring (M= 14. 92 years, SD= 1. 56). Plus the offspring needed to be 5 years apart from each other. And regarding the adoptive family the offspring needed to be place for adoption before 2 years of age (M=4. 7 weeks, SD =3. 4 months). And 63% of adoptive families and 57% of biological families agreed to participate in this research. Well-being level of MPQ method was used to measure the happiness. It had been measured twice over the 3 years gap. The well-being level is assessed from the value starting from 1 = definitely true to 4= definitely false. Adoptive, natural and mixed family are believed in this case of research.

As due to this study, it is seen that there surely is no proof gender difference in well-being whether it is focus on or the parents. At a three season follow up the correlations stay near no. The findings of the method that goal enjoyment is not related to the average person in his/her adjoining with whom he/she has been living for a protracted period of time presents an issue to the contagion hypothesis. But there are a few limitations of the study that it doesn't consider if the siblings are of same making love or the opposite love-making because the same love-making siblings may become more similar than the contrary gender siblings. Another limitation is the relationship of the spouses which look different; nonetheless they weren't different significantly. Furthermore, using the adoptees might not be a perfect thing to do.

In conclusion, after all of the conversation about the impact of individual's enjoyment on people in the environment be it family, friends, family members, co-workers, spouse. It could be said that contagion impact, twin analysis, adoptive family evaluation including genetic results, physical proximity all involve some or the other limitations. But all the research has their benefits and drawbacks like contagion effect is not always seen when considered separately. Adoptive family method considers the non-genetically related family and therefore the results may vary. And then the genetic results come into picture and the other factors are not viewed. Physical proximity is the factor where the direct interaction among each other has a big in turning up the contagion effect. It definitely can be said that if the folks around a person are happy then that individual would be happy too and the frame of mind of looking towards the problems would be positive too. And there are some discrepancies inside our method and the Fowler and Christakis's method that can be accounted to the analysis design and sample. On one got we used a behavioral hereditary design they performed social network research. And our research included both children and people there method got all the individuals. But in our circumstance of review the samples included were adoptees and that is not the ideal scenario to conduct this kind of research. There's a possibility to start to see the contagion impact in the parent-sibling marriage because they live in the same environment. Fowler and Christakis used items from CES-D which asks the experience in last week whereas MPQ employed by us ask same activities generally.


Christakis, N. A. , & Fowler, J. H. (2007). The get spread around of excess weight in a big network over 32 years, New Britain Journal of medicine, PP 357

Cohen S & Pressman, S. D. (2006). Positive Affect and Health. Current Guidelines in Psychological Knowledge, Vol 1, PP 135 Retrieved on 26th April 2014

Fredrickson, B. & Joiner, T. (2002). Positive thoughts trigger upwards spirals toward emotional well-being. Psychological Knowledge, 13, 172-175.

Radloff, L. S. (1997). The CES-D Level: A self-report despair range for research on the whole population. Applied mental health measurement, Size 1, PP 385 - 401.

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