Cornell University2014-07-13 8:38 PM

Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks

Abstract
Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people. 

full article:
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2014/05/29/1320040111.abstract

KEYWORDS

SHARE & LIKE

COMMENTS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Cornell University

0 Following 0 Fans 0 Projects 4 Articles

SIMILAR ARTICLES

AbstractEmotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness.

Read More

AbstractPhytophthora infestans is a destructive plant pathogen best known for causing the disease that triggered the Irish potato famine and remains th

Read More

AbstractThe concept of a macroevolutionary trade-off among sexual signals has a storied history in evolutionary biology. Theory predicts that if multip

Read More

AbstractTitan’s surface–atmosphere system bears remarkable similarities to Earth’s, the most striking being an active, global methane cycle akin to Ear

Read More