Campus News

Social contagions

A story on examined the phenomenon of reckless behavior by privileged teens sometimes called “affluenza.”

The story posed the question of whether bad behavior is contagious.

Michelle vanDellen, an assistant professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ psychology department, was quoted in the story about a 2010 study she authored that suggested people are influenced by the level of self-control demonstrated by the people around them.

“The take-home message of this study is that picking social influences that are positive can improve your self-control,” vanDellen said. “And by exhibiting self-control you’re helping others around you do the same.”