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Archive for March, 2010

Halfdating is contagious

According to the article appeared on ScienceDaily.com (2010-03-10) “Good acts — acts of kindness, generosity and cooperation — spread just as easily as bad. And it takes only a handful of individuals to really make a difference.”

Here are some lesson learned from the article:


  • This diagram illustrates how a single act of kindness can spread between individuals and across time. Cooperative behavior spreads three degrees of separation: if Eleni increases her contribution to the public good, it benefits Lucas (one degree of separation), who gives more when paired with Erika (two degrees of separation) in period 2, who gives more when paired with Jay (three degrees of separation) in period 3, who gives more when paired with Brecken in period 4. The effects also persist over time, so that Lucas gives more when paired with Erika (period 2) and also when paired with Lysander (period 3), Bemy (period 4), Sebastian (period 5), and Nicholas (period 6). The effect also persists at two degrees of separation, as Erika not only gives more when paired with Jay (period 3), but also when paired with Harla (period 4) and James (period 5). All the paths in this illustrative cascade are supported by results in the experiments, and it is important to note that if Eleni decreases her initial contribution then her uncooperative behavior can spread and persist as well. (Credit: Courtesy James Fowler, UC San Diego)

  • The effect persists, Fowler said: “You don’t go back to being your ‘old selfish self.”’ As a result, the money a person gives in the first round of the experiment is ultimately tripled by others who are subsequently (directly or indirectly) influenced to give more. “The network functions like a matching grant,” Christakis said.

  • Groups with altruists in them will be more altruistic as a whole and more likely to survive than selfish groups