Inside the Surprising Science of Infectious Behaviors and Viral Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves
Several students from Henry M. Gunn High School at Palo Alto committed suicide. These unexpected and tragic events were the catalyst for Lee Daniel Kravetz to write Strange Contagion. Moreover, Kravetz was affected by these circumstances as he used to live in this community, and considered the future safety of his own children.
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Kravetz investigated about social contagion, a term used by the French social psychologist Le Bon (1895) to describe a specific form of social influence.1 Furthermore, a mass contagion, an unconscious process, provoked through the influence of thoughts, emotions, and behaviors within a group.
The author covered social contagion from different perspectives and addresses topics such as suicide, bulimia, anorexia, and violence propelled by fear, stress or the media, for example, in an attempt to explain what was going on with the students at Palo Alto. His research approached several professionals studying these topics looking for answers and solutions.
Even though, the book’s narrative makes this research seems a fiction’s story, unfortunately, it’s not. Occasionally, the narrative falls short, for instance, in passages describing how they were packing their belongings to move, adding nothing to the story.
Kravetz presents his research and includes his opinions, sometimes as facts, nevertheless, they are just his point of view; for example, considering pro-democratic movement in Libya a success that provoked elections after six decades of dictatorship, meanwhile, BBC’s research shows Libya’s situation as chaotic.
Strange Contagion reflects Kravetz’s research insights and contradictions, but not clear answers, there still more research to do. For the moment, people are working with protocols to deal with these events the best they can with the knowledge experts have right now. Moreover, I agree with Kravetz to get the cause to eradicate such maladies as I had a family member that committed suicide, sadly.
1 Akira Namatame, Shu-Heng Chen (2016). Agent Based Modelling and Network Dynamics. Oxford University Press. 978-0198708285.
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Author Lee Daniel Kravetz
Strange Contagion: Inside the Surprising Science of Infectious Behaviors and Viral Emotions and What They Tell Us About Ourselves
Published by Harper Wave (June 27, 2017)
ARC by Edelweiss