Connected Summary

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“When you smile, the world smiles with you”, a very intriguing concept, which is the title of the second chapter of Connected (2009) by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler, that highlights their research of human emotions and how they spread through social networks. Emotions can spread from person to person, and network to network, they are essentially contagious; this includes fear, anxiety, loneliness, and happiness. Christakis and Fowler state that emotions themselves contain several elements. Emotions contain a conscious element, meaning people are aware of what they’re feeling. They have a physical aspect; emotions are tied to an individuals’ health. They also have a neurological affect; altering activity and blood flow levels in the brain. Finally, emotions contain a visual aspect; they can be expressed in facial expressions and body language. Christakis and Fowler suggest that emotions most likely began in early human evolutionary stages to promote the bonding of mother and child; later expanding to other family members, then non family members. The ability to read moods and pass them onto each other could have aided early humans in their everyday activities, due to the lack of fully developed verbal communication. It is also stated, emotions travel faster than words. It is faster to read an individual’s face to understand their emotions than it is to wait for the verbal communication that comes along with it; which leads into what the authors call Emotional
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