3 Surprising Behaviours That are Contagious

Who you surround yourself with has an even bigger impact than you might realise...

Most Popular
GIF

You're probably well aware that seeing another person yawn or laugh uncontrollably will set you off to do the same. But there are other more surprising behaviours that have been scientifically found to be contagious, too:

1. Rudeness (particularly at work)

According to research by Trevor Foulk, it takes no more than a single episode of low-intensity negative behaviour to be transferred to those around us. He likens rudeness to the common cold, in how easy it is to 'catch'. The 'contagion' (rudeness) appears to be unaffected by the relationship between the involved individuals (boss and employee, mother and child, etc), providing stronger evidence that this is an unconscious adoption of anger and hostility rather than a type of mimicking. There's not much research to clarify why this is more prevalent in work situations, but common sense would suggest it's to do with the high-stress environment and the amount of time you spend in close proximity to co-workers. Foulk also found that previous exposure to rude behaviour makes you more sensitive to it in the future, making you more likely to interpret a situation as rude. Worryingly, further studies showed that the contagious effect of just one rude interaction could last up to an entire week, showing just how important it is to be pleasant to your co-workers.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2. Risk taking

John O'Doherty, Professor of Psychology at Caltech found that people are more likely to make a financial gamble after witnessing a peer doing it first. Shinsuke Suzuki, co-author of the paper said: 'Both the behavioural and neural responses to taking risks can be changed through passively observing the behaviour of others.'

Also, Aislin Mushquash and her team found that couples influence each other's drinking habits so much that you can actually predict one partner's binge drinking based on the other's. Another study published in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research Journal found that when placed in a social setting, a person's decision on whether to drink alcohol or not was greatly influenced by what their friends drink.

Most Popular

3. Eating habits

There's good and bad news with this one; both healthy and unhealthy eating habits can be passed on to our friends and family. One study found that when looking at over 12,000 people, when a friend becomes obese (as per their BMI), you're 57% more likely to become obese yourself. This increased risk can also be seen to three degrees of separation, meaning you are 10% more likely to become obese if a friend of a friend of a friend is (really!). And if your spouse is obese, it raises your chances by 27%.

This doesn't just apply to the unhealthy, though. When investigating the effectiveness of a weight loss program on 357 overweight patients with Type 2 diabetes, spouses were seen to lose weight at the same rate of the participants. So for anyone looking to change their lifestyle, surround yourself with fit, healthy people and you might start adopting their behaviours.

The main takeaway? Pick your friends wisely.

Via

What do you think?

Life
Share
46 Pool Floats for Adults Who Know How to Party
Anyone down for a float trip?
Life
Share
7 Foods You Need to Eat Before Your Cardio to Lose Weight Faster
Bonus: All of them taste *real* nice.
Life
Share
10 Shocking Facts That Will Forever Change How You Look at Flying
You'll never take your shoes off on a plane again.
Life
Share
Why This TV Show is Every Woman's Story
Yes, I mean HER too.
Life
Share
Sindoor is Tax Free, But SANITARY PADS Have Not Been Deemed Tax Exemptible
*government priorities on point*
Life
Share
5 Tibetan Exercises That Can Give You a Surge of Energy in Just 10 Minutes
It isn't known as 'The fountain of youth' for no reason.
Life
Share
An Ethical Hacker Reveals How He Booked a Flight From India to US in Just 1 Rupee!
Wait, there's more. He booked a flight to San Francisco for Re 1, booked another one for Rs. 4 and ended up getting a refund of Rs 2000. 😳 😳
Life
Share
This New Weight Loss Hack Can Help You Lose 15 Kilos, Super Fast!
That is, if you're willing to swallow a balloon!
Life
Share
We've Curated Your New Summer Diet
Hint: It involves alcohol
Life
Share
5 Quick and Easy Ways to Get Rid of Your Double Chin
Say hello to natural contouring!