Loose associations

People who know me well know that I often make loose associations that leave other people scratching their heads. Here are two loosely related articles that I wanted to draw your attention to.

First, an article on batterer’s intervention programs that provides an overview of some of the history and the philosophical tensions that exist among programs.

Second, an article on happiness as a social phenomena.

While there are many determinants of happiness, whether an individual is happy also depends on whether others in the individual’s social network are happy. Happy people tend to be located in the centre of their local social networks and in large clusters of other happy people. The happiness of an individual is associated with the happiness of people up to three degrees removed in the social network. Happiness, in other words, is not merely a function of individual experience or individual choice but is also a property of groups of people. Indeed, changes in individual happiness can ripple through social networks and generate large scale structure in the network, giving rise to clusters of happy and unhappy individuals. These results are even more remarkable considering that happiness requires close physical proximity to spread and that the effect decays over time.

The findings could be understood as an affirmation of the importance of communities of recovery. It also might provide more concrete support for advice to “stick with the winners”. [hat tip: wired in]