UMD Reads The Righteous Mind

A blog for and about the 2013 UMD First Year Book Project

The Hive Switch and Happiness

Hello, it’s Arielle again. I can’t believe that the new school year is right around the corner! Today I want to talk about the Hive Switch in Chapter 10. Haidt says that happiness comes from between meaning, “It comes from getting the right relationships between yourself and others, yourself and your work, and yourself and something larger than yourself”(283). I completely agree with that. I think that we are always trying to make ourselves happy whether it’s individually or as a group. We all have something inside of us that yearns for a sense of happiness.

Recently I had a sleepover with some friends and it was great. We talked, laughed, you know the usual things people do at sleepovers. We had deep conversations and it was amazing because we could just be honest with each other. We weren’t judging each other, we didn’t feel as if we had to hold anything back. I think that this relates to when Haidt refers to the hive switch. He says, “We have the ability (under special conditions) to transcend self-interest and lose ourselves (temporarily and ecstatically) in something larger than ourselves” (258). This also could relate to you, if you are apart of a religious group, or sports team or a club of some sort. There is just something about forming groups with people and becoming a community with people you can relate to than being by yourself.

So this leaves me to ask you guys a few questions. Do you guys believe that the Hive Switch exists?  If so, where else do you see us using it besides on a sports team or a religious group? How do you think this will affect you when you come to UMASS Dartmouth? What do you think it’ll mean to be apart of the Corsair “hive” and being apart of a learning community? Also, do you believe that being happy comes from forming all the right relationships that Haidt mentions? If you don’t believe that the Hive Switch exists, explain why and if you think that it’s something else.


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214 thoughts on “The Hive Switch and Happiness

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  1. Brandi Bass on said:

    I personally believe that the “Hive Switch” does exist. As we grow up we are constantly coming across diverse people with different ideals, morals and self-interests. Often we come across people who have the same ideals, morals and self-interests while participating in activities, sport teams and in school. In college at UMass Dartmouth I am sure that the “Hive Switch” will play a huge part especially because as freshman we are all looking for friends and for people who have the same ideals, morals and self-interests with us. These commonalities within each other creates happiness.

    • Katherine on said:

      I really liked what you had to say Michelle about how no in college we will definitely see the hive switch. But I am very curious to know if in college the switch will go off instantly and if it does will it also be like that out of college or will it take us more time to find our hive?

  2. Michelle Torto on said:

    Haidt’s concept of the hive switch has opened my eyes to various situations and clarified to me why people do certain things when it relates to groups and belonging. This idea made the light bulb go off in my head. Everyone wants to be themselves and have people surrounding them that they feel comfortable enough to do that. Now that we are all in college, the hive switch will definitely be evident, especially these first few weeks and maybe even the first month. We all came here not knowing the amount of people we know back home, and we are all looking for those people who share the same interests and morals as we do.

  3. Seth Guillotte on said:

    I do thing the hive switch exists everyone goes through their days trying to seek happiness. Sometimes the happiness isn’t always there but we never give up trying to be happy, like you said you people try to be happy through many ways, some stay happy by themselves and they can be truly happy and enjoy life without being in a group and others need a group of people to make them happy but all in all everyone does seek happiness daily and that’s why I believe the hive switch exists

  4. Maia Johnson on said:

    I really do believe the hive exists for certain people, however there are others who “seem” to be perfectly happy by themselves. For me, relatinships really dictate my happiness wheter it be negatively or positively. There is something special about sharing a commonality with a group of people, it makes you feel comfortable which can lead to happiness. This can be applied to the umassd community so simply as everyone here is a corsair. In a deeper way the freshman class as a whole is a special community, we are all eagerly trying to reach out and form new relationships which for the next four year we will use to lead us to happiness

  5. Victoria Quennessen on said:

    The hive switch certainly exists, but I believe that every person or group of people has a different level of events that trigger the switch, so different people manifest their hive-y nature to different extents. Some people’s switch gets triggered at soccer games, or during a religious service. The more intense the feeling of belonging, or the greater the detection of threat, the more people’s switches will be triggered. For example, the way that Boston – and indeed, much of Massachusetts – pulled together after the Boston Marathon bombing showed how the hive switch could be triggered quickly and completely. The switch has even been pulled on a national level multiple times – JFK’s assassination, the Challenger explosion, Pearl Harbor, and, of course, 9/11, showed how the United States could bond almost instantly and become a part of a larger whole, rising above individualism to become a superorganism. It would be safe to assume that, apart perhaps from psychopaths, everyone’s hive switch will be triggered at least once at some point in their lives.

  6. Elsa McGilvray on said:

    Haidt brings up an excellent point when he talks about the Hive Switch, it is as real as anything else. We all strive to find this happiness in our lives, a balance. Some of us feel so empty and lost as though we have no purpose. People tend to try and fill the gaps of unhappiness with tangibles. They believe “things” like a new car, a new phone, a house, a boat or whatever it may be, will make them happier. This however is untrue. Happiness, just as Haidt explains, comes from who and what you surround yourself with including the relationships, your work, and something larger than ourselves! I believe being part of the Corsair “hive” will involve the entire University together and what we represent, we will unite as a whole. And as a university we will almost become a family, building important and close relationships with one another. These relationships will ultimately satisfy us and will truly bring us one step closer to finding our happiness!

  7. Emily Nicklas on said:

    I truly do believe the Hive Switch exists. Happiness can be obtained briefly from tangible things such as money, personal success, or even a good meal at your favorite restaurant. However, I believe that true happiness is achieved through connection between other people in your life. For example, a rich man could be happy and content with his life, but there will always be that part of him that lonely. As that part of him grows, the man gets more and more unsettled with his life.

  8. James Watson on said:

    I believe the hive switch exists in any group, and can be activated at any time in the group. When I played high school sports, there were several times I distinctly remember not caring about my own personal goals, but the team’s personal goals. I also see the hive switch existing in other places, such as the workplace or conventions. Being happy socially means surrounding yourself with the right people that you can connect with. That way, you have someone that has the same interests as you, and the same experiences as you.

  9. Kyle Garvey on said:

    In my opinion having a “hive” of your own is a good thing for a person. I know that I strive to find that one set of individuals that makes a great group and stick with them. It makes everything better and more effective. The “hive” could be any group, like a job. People rely on you so you do your job as well as you can for the better of the group. However being 90% chimp sometimes does make people more selfish. some people are lazy and do things that only benefit themselves but i believe that the hive will fix that though and remove the problem. with my experience this is what has happened with work the slackers who only care about themselves get the can and the rest become more of a unit.

  10. Holly Lamoureux on said:

    I definitely believe that the Hive Switch exists. Simply having another person to share your sympathy with or someone who can give their empathy to you when you share your feelings on a life experience you are going through can have you feeling ten times better about your situation. Even being able to associate with some kind of club or group can improve your mood from the feeling of inclusion. The Hive Switch is a way for people to create relationships and bonds with others that will help you get through whatever struggles you may be facing.

  11. keith grenier on said:

    I happen to thoroughly believe that the hive switch does exist in the human nature and I have experienced it through out life. Something about being around other people and seeing them having the same concerns, goals, interests, struggles as you, it is much easier to learn and grow. you watch them and learn subconsciously from them to better yourself. The hive switch can, and will be used in the classroom, social gatherings, public areas,place of business, work, and any where at Umass Dartmouth. The hive switch at UMD will certainly affect and play a huge roll in my life and education, and years to come. this hive switch will not only effect me but the others that observe me and use the hive technique as well.

  12. Emily Sharp on said:

    I agree as well that the hive switch exists in people.
    A recent example I encountered was when I went to my first concert. A few days after finishing the book, I went to Gillette Stadium where there were probably thousands of people I had never met. People can tend to be hostile or dismissive of strangers in public places, but here they came together and acted like old friends. There was chanting, singing, hugging, and laughter, and all the while I couldn’t help but think about this book and how this hive behavior related perfectly to the book. This natural thing that humans do allows strangers to come together without shame or embarrassment to enjoy what is happening. This was not my first experience where people came together, but reading about the hive switch opened my eyes and enabled me to recognize the behavior and understand it better.

  13. Carolyn Martin on said:

    I do believe the hive switch exists. In a world where we see terror and humiliation thrown upon human beings for their opinions we tend to be defensive and sometimes aggressive when communicating our own. We do this in order to protect ourselves. I believe the hive switch occurs when a group of individuals find themselves in an environment where they feel comfortable with the people they are communicating with. This may occur because of friendship, or simply because a brave soul in the group stated what was on their mind and began a constructive conversation and gave the entire group a reason to feel comfortable.

  14. Kate Carlini on said:

    I believe the Hive Switch absolutely exists. Just from a personal view, people need to be a part of a group to be at their peek. People need support and approval at all times and that is the reason they search for groups of people with similar interests. To keep ourselves happy, to keep ourselves motivated we go to people who will agree with our views and ideas so we are not disappointed and discouraged, so the whole idea of the hive switch makes sense for the purposes that we have as social beings.

  15. Teo Barbalho on said:

    I totally believe in the hive switch. A personal example of this is when I DJ and it is usually with two of my best friends. It’s weird because whenever all three of us DJ at the same party, we just work together and want to make it the best party people go too. But whenever we just practice together, it is more individual to see who “DJayes” better. I feel like being in a party atmosphere “triggers” the Hive Switch. I think that being here at UMASS Dartmouth, it’ll mostly be triggered at either sporting events or maybe even parties. For example, at a football game, we won’t be separated by dorms or being a freshman, sophomore, ect. We will be together as one community and cheer as one school. I completely agree that being happy comes from forming the right relationships. Having people who motivate you, inspire you, helps you in your time of needs, and help you grow as person are what we need.

  16. Roseli Rodriguez on said:

    Personally, I truly believe that the hive switch does exist in everyones life whether they believe it or not. Besides sports or a religious group it occurs in this school as a whole completely, we have to work together to complete something that is bigger than every single one of us including the student and the faculty. It will become to affect me because I have to be part of the people that help the school and other people surrounding me achieve their goals, and create a better future. Being a part of the “corsair hive” will allow me to grow as a person and by being part of a learning community is that we can all help and encourage each other to become the people we want to be. Haidt mentions that having the right relationships will make you happy, which I believe is to be true.

    • human nature is no simple thing it should be considered like a spectrum alot of people exhibit signs of things on low ends of spectrum and or on the high end. people find purpose in helping others or in small things they do or they feel they must be remembered by all which can either lead them to great success or to cause horrifying acts.

  17. Dianna Brooks on said:

    It is human nature to have a feeling of belonging. No matter where you end up in life whether it be in a business office behind a desk cubicle, behind the wheel of a delivery truck, or baking a cake in the kitchen you want to feel that way. Once you leave your ‘group’ and enter a whole new one you want to be able to feel accepted.

  18. Samantha Powell on said:

    I believe the hive switch does exist and I believe that a big place this occurs in is in the work place. You aren’t really able to choose the people you work with but the style of work you like. You might not like the people you have to work with but you’ll need to tolerate them or learn to like them. Then again you can like them and learn to get to know them and really learn how to get a great job done. Sometimes in the work place people may bump heads a lot and it causes trouble but when you work together, you find ways to get around it.

  19. Candace Narvaez on said:

    The hive switch exists and as others have pointed out it is seen many times throughout our lives. I have recently experienced a hive switch when I attended a youth summit on global environmental issues that focused on the best ways to spread awareness and become more of an activist on those issues. I had already been in a club in high school that focused on the same things but it was different at the summit since there were hundreds of people supporting the same cause I was. Although my club achieved many things I still felt like the fight against global warming, plastic pollution, and ocean acidification was near impossible to win. However, I experienced a hive switch that changed my perspective. I felt more optimistic because we were one giant entity fighting for and against the same things. To me it shows that the hive switch can be experienced outside of sports and religion, all it takes is one common goal, interest, idea, etc. to make the switch and help us let go of our selfish interests.

  20. Patrick Kearney on said:

    I agree with Haidt and believe that the hive switch does indeed exist. I’ve been in several situations where I have experienced the hive switch because of different teams I’ve been on. All new students here at UMass Dartmouth are also going to experience the hive switch as they want to feel like they belong or fit in with the crowd. This feeling brings out the hive switch when you move into school as you meet new people and form new relationships. These new relationships made will form a community of happy people or students who have made the hive switch.

  21. Gabrielle Brutus on said:

    The Hive Switch definitely exists. Humans tend to like being around people that have similar interests as them. This is why people tend to join the same religions, same sports teams, same choirs, because those are shared interests. To me, being a part of the Corsair hive means that I will be able to get along with my colleagues and peers because we are at the same school trying to achieve the same goals. I believe that being happy does come from forming the right relationships. Surrounding yourself with positive people will help you to become a positive person. The same goes with negative people; hanging with negativity only brings negativity.

  22. Sally Chung on said:

    As cliche as this may sound, everyone does want to fit in and everyone wants to be within the crowd, at all times. I myself when I emigrated from South Korea, was very new to this country. I grew up from a complete different surrounding, culture and values. But as I adapted to my new setting I was able to pick up on the cooler looks, the way kids talk and associated with one another. The first grade elementary school I attended was in Chelsea. A very different background from where I live now, but there was a group of girls that I really wanted to be part of and in order to fit in with them I needed to have any sort of makeup. Every recess we had weather it was during snack time or after lunch, they always gathered under the bridge and talked about what they did shopping with their mom and played make over. With that being said I knew I needed makeup stuff to be a part of something with those girls. And that is how I got my first make up, lip balm. And what we did with it was even ridiculous, we shared chap sticks with one another and just like that we became a clique. My point of this story is that the hive switch does exist!!! Although the example provided above may seem like a contradiction to the hive switch, majority of kids want to fit in and they will by the things that come in there interest.

  23. Aisling Steel on said:

    I feel like Hive Switch does exist. Although it does seem as though it would only exist in a religion group or sports team, there are many things that cause a group of people, alike and different, to come together for something larger then them. For example, nature. People come together to appreciate the beautiful natural world around us. People care about the earth, people want to live and explore this world. Any larger idea can bring people together. In college, Hive Switch can occur academically and socially, with clubs, classes, sports, etc. I do not think that it will effect me that much. Personally, I like to do my own thing and have an open mind so I do not have many permanent beliefs.
    Happiness defiantly comes from happy relationships in your life. If you could be lonely AND happy, being lonely wouldn’t be that bad. If you are doing well in your relationships at work, at home, with your family and friends, unhappiness is less likely to occur. Forming the right relationships in your life is healthy.

  24. joseph soricelli on said:

    I believe in the hive switch. I have experienced it a few times and expect it the first week at UMass Dartmouth

  25. Peter Cakounes on said:

    Haidt’s theory of the hive switch is very plausible. So much so that I believe that it greatly extends passed sport groups and religions. I believe it is was drives some of the spontaneous generous actions (such as holding the door for someone at the grocery store for a fellow patron) that we execute every day. I most certainly feel that I will be affected by it at UMass Dartmouth, as will most people, due to becoming a part of communities such as particular residence halls, colleges, clubs, and fraternities or sororities. As Haidt speaks about in his book; the right relationships mean everything. The comfort of the social members is very important as too the more hive’s behavior of each member; where those who are most comfortable become most groupish.

  26. Matthew Eaton on said:

    I am a firm believer that The Hive Switch does exist. Having a partnership with a certain group of people creates opportunities to succeed. When working with people you feel comfortable around makes it that much easier. As we enter into UMASS Dartmouth, the people you surround yourself with will help guide you into the path best fit for ourselves.

  27. Kathleen Tansey on said:

    I definitely believe that the Hive switch does exist; when we are in large groups of people we trust we tend to let our walls down. Once we get into a crowd full of people that are feeling some sort emotion we tend to piggyback onto those emotions and join the group. A perfect example that Haidt pointed out is sports events, when a group gets hyped up people surrounding that group start to feel the excitement and might even join the hype. Plus once you share that connection of feeling the same emotion as someone you are connected on an emotional level.

  28. Corey Patterson on said:

    I believe that hive switch is a very important factor to being happy. It’s good to be able to find happiness within yourself, but being part of something bigger lets you escape that. You can be part of a group or team and share experiences with others that makes everyone happy. The hive switch plays an important factor here at umd because it’s a social environment. Joining a club or team or even being part of a group can lead to better things.

  29. Wayne Bracy on said:

    I do believe that the hive switch. Does exists, however I have not seen it used in anything else besides my church and on my football team since those are probably the biggest and most prevalent groups that I am apart of, in both their is a general believe of family and not being selfish as we are all apart of something greater. As a high school football player, their was always the idea that winning championships was not an individual thing, but a result of the group, and no one player will get the glory, but the name of our school and the year of our team is what would be remembered, and we played for what was bigger than ourselfs, for the pride that our team name will be remembered when its all over, and not just ourselfs

  30. Allison Scott on said:

    The hive switch definitely made itself a prominent reality in my life. I have grown and switched many a hive. I’ve had multiple different friend groups, I’ve been to two different high schools, I’ve been in almost every club and activity you could imagine. I have been around the country and experienced places in nature and other states that have made me realize that the Universe is an entity in itself, and that there are much larger things out there.

  31. David Hawkesworth Hale on said:

    I find the hive switch quite prominent, it relates directly back to the psychosis that is this human philosophy. The urge to be apart of something that is not only bigger than yourself but to also better yourself. It’s what happens when you switch from the various levels of the school system and society itself.

  32. Trayvon Ayala-Layne on said:

    I am a strong believer in Haidt’s hive switch theory, and I have witnessed it take effect in many aspects of my life including: basketball, football, church, and music; however, I have never witnessed it play a more powerful role than with music. Music can be used as a powerful tool to forge long lasting relation ships because one song can strongly relate to a multitude of people on a visceral level. When musicians come together to create a song they all must temporarily transcend self interest and self gain for a chance to become a part of a greater movement, and for the sake of the artistry itself. I believe during my attendance at UMD this natural hive switch mentality that I possess will help me push my friends to make the most of their education, because if each of us bond together as students and push each other to exceed all expectations, we then become part of a larger movement to change the nation we will soon inherit. Although personal accolades and accomplishments are great no one man can change the world, so in effort to make a difference I will not only strive for my personal gain, but for the success of my peers as well.

  33. I do believe that the ‘Hive Switch’ is very evident in peoples daily lives. All throughout high school you see it happening day after day, although it might not apply to your life personally it is still there. It can show how different people get along and how it can change a person as well. Meeting new people that have the same interests as you and do the same things can be a cool concept. You see this kind of switch in all kinds of sports and new activities. Joining the football in college is a crazy experience where almost everyone can relate to this Hive Switch because it is so many new people thrown into one environment with one main interest of the love of the game of football and that can form many different friendships. By the second week here it is prominent that people have split into different groups. Also I had a lot of very different friend groups in high school because there wasn’t just one that I felt right in and I had to switch around sometimes. You want to surround yourself with people that are like you and do the same things as well as people who will point you in the right direction and help you get there as a whole and work as a team, without teamwork and cooperation you wont make it far in many situations, it is good to grab a vibe from other people and ran on it.

  34. I completely agree with the hive switch. I have seen it in many aspects of life, especially in sports and in the classroom. When people come together it allows them to find ideas that bring them closer and hence brings them happiness.

  35. Tyler Carvalho on said:

    I believe in the hive switch. It seems to be very effective in accomplishing your goals and I hope now that I can apply it more to my everyday life and improve myself

  36. Lezan Hodge on said:

    The hive switch is applied in everyday life, i see it happening in my own life constantly. I have more than one group of friends because it is easier to do certain things with certain people. One group of my friends may be interested in one thing and the other is interested in other depending on what i need to accomplish or do i call that certain group. Most things work and turn out better if your working with a group of people that all have the same amount of interest and love for something.

  37. derek chapman on said:

    While i was reading this i was actually thinking about most of the people on my floor. Already i have become close with most of my sweet-mates. To me the reason why it was so easy for me to become close with them is because they are all very much like me. I feel as if i can be honest with them, and can completely be myself around them.

  38. I completely agree that the hive switch exists due to my group of friends. I have a large group of friends that have known each other since 1st grade and have been close ever since. We can fix any issue that we have, whether its a social issue between us, or its a physical problems like fixing something we broke.

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