How Your Facebook Feed Affects Your Happiness

A new Cornell/UCSF joint-study reveals that seeing positive posts in your Facebook feed leads to using positive words in status updates.

What's the Latest?


Elizabeth Dwoskin of the Digits blog at The Wall Street Journal posted earlier today about a new study linking the reading of positive posts on Facebook to the actual posting of positive things on Facebook. Researchers worked with Facebook to adjust the algorithm for certain users' feeds so that posts including "positive" words showed up more. Dwosin explains:

If positive terms like “happy” and “excited” appeared in the posts of people whose news feeds were tweaked, the researchers studied whether more positive words had been used in posts from others in their network. 

Researchers' expectations were confirmed. The group exposed to more positive words in turn posted happier statuses. Similar results were also netted when groups of users were exposed to "negative" posts. Their updates ended up using more negative words.

What's the Big Idea?

Here's a thought: if you're some sort of evil mastermind plotting to undo the psychological wellness of all your Facebook friends, the best place to start is by posting a ton of negativity. Spam them with Nietzche image quotes! Link to Breitbart as much as you possibly can!

In all seriousness, the research appears to confirm what so many of us believe about the infectious nature of happiness. Exposing yourself to negativity begets negativity. Exposing yourself to happiness begets happiness. That's not just conjecture -- it's science.

Now that more of our lives are lived online, perhaps the cure for e-depression is a cleaning up of one's social network. And maybe all this about Facebook positive energy explains the popularity of those Joel Osteen quotes your aunts keep posting.

Read more at The Wall Street Journal

Photo credit: Thinglass / Shutterstock.com 

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face."

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

We are heading for a New Cretaceous, not for a new normal

The climate change we're witnessing is more dramatic than we might think.

Image credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center from Greenbelt, MD, USA
Surprising Science

A lazy buzz phrase – 'Is this the new normal?' – has been doing the rounds as extreme climate events have been piling up over the past year. To which the riposte should be: it's worse than that – we're on the road to even more frequent, more extreme events than we saw this year.

Keep reading Show less

New study reveals what time we burn the most calories

Once again, our circadian rhythm points the way.

Photo: Victor Freitas / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Seven individuals were locked inside a windowless, internetless room for 37 days.
  • While at rest, they burned 130 more calories at 5 p.m. than at 5 a.m.
  • Morning time again shown not to be the best time to eat.
Keep reading Show less