25 March 2010

How social networks influence our behaviours

Be the first to share

Contagion
Are some behaviours more contagious than others?

This is the question that Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler address in their book, Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives. From a Science + Religion Today article:

“In the book, we show that in real-world social networks, lots of things spread up to three degrees of separation, like weight loss, smoking cessation, binge drinking, happiness, loneliness, depression, piano teacher referrals, inventor ideas, generosity, and the list goes on and on. What this means is that if you make a positive change, it will influence your friends to do the same, but it doesn’t stop there—it also affects your friends’ friends, and even your friends’ friends’ friends. We call this the “Three Degrees of Influence” rule.

But not everything spreads in the same way. Emotions can spread quickly, even between people who do not have a strong relationship. […] In contrast, behaviors seem to take longer to spread and they are only passed between people who have close social ties.”

The authors of the book also published a long article in The New York Times Magazine last year, entitled Are your friends making you fat?, in which they say your friends — and even your friends’ friends — can make you quit smoking, eat too much or get happy.

In other words: a look inside the emerging science of social contagion.

Be the first to share
2 February 2016
Do patients really want to be empowered?
Katherine Benjamin, digital services manager at NHS England, asks some clever questions in this Medium piece: "Digital health services and wearable technologies are meant to empower users to change behaviours and become better informed, more engaged …
29 January 2016
Solving health care problems through design methodology
Stephen Klasko (an MD with an MBA, CEO of Jefferson Health System and Thomas Jefferson University) and Bon Ku (MD, a professor of emergency medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital) joined the Knowledge@Wharton show …
28 January 2016
The Power of Privacy – documentary film
In this half-hour film (commissioned by The Guardian and Silent Circle), Aleks Krotoski travels the world to undergo challenges that explore our digital life in the 21st century. Watch her be stalked and hacked, fight to …
26 January 2016
Designing for Crisis, Design for Real Life
It’s easy to design for the idealized user, someone who’s smart, calm, and informed. It’s less easy, and thus more important, to design for a more realistic user: still smart, but harried and uncertain. The …
24 January 2016
The grand illusion of empowerment
Financial times journalist/anthropologist Gillian Tett deconstructs the idea that the internet hands power to the people. In fact, she writes, in most countries power remains firmly in the hands of the elite. The bitter — and …
22 January 2016
The power of creativity from below
Anthropologist Michael Thompson believes in the power of creativity from below in solving some of the smaller and bigger problems of our time. "People generally are very creative and innovative. Many anthropological case studies have shown …
9 January 2016
Why we need better UI in patient-used medical devices
With patients increasingly treating themselves at home, often using specialist equipment, the chance of use errors increases, and the ensuing results can be deadly. User Interfaces (UI) have a key role to play in reducing the …
31 December 2015
[Report] Easier Said Than Done
Easier Said Than Done: Why we struggle with healthy behaviours and what to do about it By Nathalie Spencer RSA, December 2015 Many of us know what we should be doing to live healthily, yet many of us …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

18 January 2016
Experientia website completely reshaped

Experientia is pleased to announce that we’ve started 2016 with a brand new website. Experientia’s now officially 10 years old, and we decided that the best way to celebrate is by building a new website that showcases our growth – with new projects, new people in the staff, and two new locations in Lausanne and […]

1 January 2016
For when things get personal…
13 October 2015
Experientia report: Design for ageing gracefully

Design for Ageing Gracefully Rethinking Health and Wellness for the Elderly: Public Services Asian Insights & Design Innovation, DesignSingapore Council October 2015

29 September 2015
[Experientia book] Ethnography on elderly health and wellness

As we age, we increasingly depend on public services and the community for support. Well-designed public services can greatly affect the lives of the elderly and their experiences of healthcare. Experientia collaborated with DesignSingapore Council on understanding how the elderly interact with public services and how we can look towards improving their lives with design. […]

2 July 2015
Getting citizens involved in protecting fragile energy environments

A new project funded under the FP7 European Commission framework is getting citizens involved in testing new tools for reducing energy consumption during peak loads, in the hope that its pilot program will set the new state of the art for protecting locations with fragile electricity supplies. One of France’s most fragile regions The Provence-Alpes-Côte […]

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

See all articles