New study reveals we are able to ‘catch’ moods from our friends
25th Jan 2021
According to the research, negative feelings are much more ‘contagious’ than positive ones.
“You’ve put me in bad form” is my go-to expression when I’m rowing with my husband. But it turns out I’m not entirely being unreasonable.
A study carried out by the brains at Oxford and Bermingham Universities has concluded that emotional contagion, in this case among teens, is a real phenomenon.
The research set out to see the impact of individuals’ moods within a shared social network.
It found that moods become similar to those of the people they spend time with. What’s interesting about this is that there was also a tolerance of different moods, meaning grumpy teenagers are no less popular with their peers than those with a more upbeat personality.
According to The Guardian, research was based on two musical ensembles involving musicians aged 15-19 who took part in concert tours abroad. During the course of the tour in the summer of 2018, each of the 79 participants kept a diary recording daily moods and social interactions.
Author of the report; Dr Per Block says that the investigation “shows conclusively that individuals are affected by how others around them are feeling. Mood is contagious, and though both positive and negative moods are ‘caught’, bad moods are more potent.”
This contradicts earlier studies in which those with a sunnier disposition rubbed off positively on others.
Although this study also showed that although a teenager runs the risk of catching a friend’s bad mood, they can also influence them with their own more positive mood and lift them out of their misery.
“We hope it is a step towards understanding why people fall into prolonged low states, the social factors that determine emotional wellbeing in adolescents, and, in the long run, how it may be possible to provide emotional support leading to improved mental health,” said Block.
So it’s good news – as long as it is moods spreading amongst teens instead of The Unmentionable.
Image via Unsplash.com
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