Is Happiness Catching?
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Basic Information

September 10, 2009: The articles examines scientific studies how behavioral patterns can be contagious propagate through a social network, including:

The speed of spread seems to vary by the number of connections a member of a social network has, and also by the type of friendship or association two people have with each other. Furthermore, behaviors often seem to "jump links" while they spread - for example, someone who is a friend with an obese person might not himself become obese, but his other friends might gain weight.

See Also

  • Meme - a concept which was invented to help explain the spread of ideas and behaviors



Game and Story Use

  • With more and more personal information about individuals becoming publicly available in the future, and with the addition of memetic analysis software, it might become possible to identify the key people to influence to change the behavior of an entire community or organization.
    • Add to that mind control powers, such as telepathy or mind-altering effects like basilisk images, and there is no limit to what you might be able to do.
      • Villains might use this to trigger mass suicides or gain a cult-like following.
      • This might be an effective way of fighting a mythago as well: spread the story of its demise through social media.
  • The effect seems to jump links. Maybe people are able to act as carriers for a meme? This could result in a Typhoid Mary-type effect if the PCs are fighting a meme.
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