Originally published on Today:
The “rabbit effect” — how the social world impacts health — has a powerful effect on humans, too, doctors say.
Evidence of the health power of kindness starts with a mystery involving rabbits.
In the late 1970s, researchers were conducting animal experiments to see how food affected the heart. Unexpectedly, one group of lab rabbits fared much better than others, despite being fed the same harmful high-fat diet.
It turned out all of the thriving rabbits had the same affectionate caretaker who wasn’t just feeding them, but petting them and talking to them.