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DETROIT (WWJ) – You can’t catch a cold from a friend online, but can you catch a mood?

U.C. San Diego researchers wanted to know whether moods are contagious on social media sites like Facebook. The study analyzed over one billion status updates among more than 100 million U.S. Facebook users.

They found positive posts and negative posts tended to produce more of the same, but positive posts were more influential, or more contagious.

“If you’re having a problem and you’re sad or you’re upset about something and you post something, that’s more of a negative, Beaumont Psychiatrist Howard Belkin told WWJ Health Reporter Sean Lee.

“The people around you very well may come and they may help you and they may say something that will improve your mood, everyone’s mood.”

Belkin said this study’s findings are a testament to the power of social media.

Hundreds of millions of people are on Facebook and Twitter and communicate in ways that they never did before,” Belkin said. “You really have to realize that what you write online may be read by a lot of people and may affect those people.”

The study was published in the journal PLOS One.

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