Infected by generosity
No man is an island. Want proof? Just look to James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis' research.
Fowler and Christakis show how individual action can be affected the actions of their social network. By studying a place as an interconnected network, instead of just looking at individuals, they see how something like obesity can spread much like a virus throughout a whole organism. On the flip side, even generosity it seems is contagious.
"Christakis and Fowler demonstrate that, when one of the students gave money to help someone else - they were cooperating - the recipients of that cash then became more likely to give their own money away in the next round. (Every unit of money shared in round 1 led to an extra 0.19 units being shared in round 2, and 0.05 units in round 3.) This leads, of course, to a cascade of generosity, in which the itch to cooperate spreads first to three people and then to the nine people that those three people interact with, and then to the remaining individuals in subsequent waves of the experiment."
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