You can catch emotions as easily as a cold.

A while back, we posted an article that discussed the idea that relationship breakups might be contagious.  Seems evidence backs up this fact.  But now it seems that just like we can “catch” divorce from our peer group , we can also catch emotions – both positive and negative.

According to the SMH


People can catch emotions the same way they catch the common cold, a Harvard University study has found.

The study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, involved the analysis of data collected from 1880 people who lived in Framingham, Massachusetts.

It found emotions were transmitted between people in large social networks. Those who took part in the study were work colleagues, friends or family living within 3.2 kilometres of one another.

They completed two exams that allowed researchers to determine if they were content, discontent or in a neutral emotional state. The results of the exams were analysed by a mathematical model, similar to models used to determine the transmission of infectious diseases, computer viruses and rumours.

Eric Vanman, a psychology lecturer at the University of Queensland, said the spread of emotions could help groups of people prepare for a common threat. ”If a village is about to be wiped out, it might be good for people to have the same fearful reaction so that they can quickly flee the impending danger in a co-ordinated manner.”

I totally believe this. I am very suseptable to other people’s ‘stuff’. Always have been. I am very attuned to the energy and emotions of people and even places – for example, if I’m at some function where people are doing drugs, I seem to take on that edgy energy and it feels dreadful.

Similarly, I’ve experienced the way one person – or a couple – can infect a work environment and how their negativity can infect the whole office. That too feels dreadful. I’m better than I used to be, though. I used to be a Sham-Wow which was really inconvenient.

Can you relate? Are you a sponge? Do you pick up other people’s stuff?


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