The following chart is based on data collected from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, which is used by many social media platforms to measure the level of health and well-being in a population.
It tracks people’s self-reported health and happiness and has been shown to correlate with life satisfaction, physical activity, income, education, and other indicators of well-Being.
The chart below compares the Gallup Healthways Well Being Index with self-reports of health from other sources.
As you can see, the results are quite different when you compare the results from the two charts, as the former indicates higher levels of well being when people have more positive perceptions of themselves, while the latter shows higher levels when people feel more “biased” toward the person with whom they are having an argument.
To help understand how the data is being used to influence public policy, The Atlantic’s Jonathan Cohn recently spoke to Dr. Paul Cusack, a University of Pennsylvania professor who is a former researcher at the National Institutes of Health who has written extensively about the issue of social media bias.
Cusak pointed out that the issue was a focus of the Harvard Medical School’s Center for Internet & Society, which has been trying to figure it out since the 1990s.
“The question we wanted to ask was, how are we measuring these things?
And what are the implications of that for public health?” said Cusk.
“And the answer was, we don’t know.
We can’t really tell people what to do about it.”
Cusack noted that the National Institute of Health has also been trying for years to identify ways to use the data for social good, with a focus on improving health and wellness among disadvantaged groups.
CUSK: We’ve had a lot of research on how to use it, but it’s still not clear how to do it.
And we have a lot more research in this area than we know about.
So what is it that we’re doing with it?
I think the obvious place to start is the National Center for Health Statistics.
So they’re really trying to sort through the data and figure out what is really going on.
Dr. Paul M. CUSK, MD, FACS, FAAN: Well, they have a list of ways to do that.
They’ve done a lot, including asking people, “Do you think that the way you talk to someone who is feeling negative or biased toward you is a good way to interact with them?” and they’ve also had people go through their own research on whether that is an effective way to have positive interactions with others.
So, the bottom line is, we know that the more negative or bias-ed you are, the more likely you are to have negative or less positive experiences.
So there’s a really strong correlation.
But there are a lot other questions that we really need to ask about this.
The biggest question is, do we want to be measuring it?
And I think that’s something that’s going to be really interesting to see in a year or two or three.