Nicholas Christakis, a Greek American physician and professor at Harvard is in the list of the 100 most influential people of TIME magazine for 2009. Christakis’ new study suggests that happiness is contagious. “Using data from a study that tracked about 5,000 people over 20 years, he suggests that happiness, like the flu, can spread from person to person. When people who are close to us, both in terms of social ties (friends or relatives) and physical proximity, become happier, we do too”, reports TIME. On the other hand Christakis also says that somebody can also get “bad” behaviors from his peers such as smoking and obesity.
Nicholas A. Christakis, MD, PhD, MPH, is an internist and social scientist who conducts research on social factors that affect health, health care, and longevity. He is a Professor of Medical Sociology in the Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School; Professor of Sociology in the Department of Sociology in the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences; and an Attending Physician (with an emphasis on palliative medicine) in the Department of Medicine at the Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As of July, 2009, he will be the Master of Pforzheimer House in Harvard College.