(minor diff, author diff)
~~Imported from [Wikipedia:Emotional%20contagion Wikipedia] on 2006-12-27~~
++'''Emotional contagion''' is the tendency to express and feel emotions that are similar to and influenced by those of others.++
Emotional contagion may be
involved in mob psychology crowd behaviors, like collective fear, disgust, or
moral outrage, but also emotional interactions in smaller groups such as work
negotiation, teaching and persuasion/propaganda contexts. It is also the
phenomenon when a person (especially a child) appears distressed because another
person is distressed, or happy because they are happy. The ability to transfer
moods appears to be innate in humans.
To date, most clinical research has focused on the effects on non-verbal (and
often non-emotional) displays, and relatively less has been studied about the
impact of contagion effects on emotional feelings. Emotional contagion and
empathy are have an interesting relationship; for without an ability to
differentiate between personal and pre-personal experience (see individuation),
they appear the same. In ''The Art of Loving,'' Erich Fromm explores the
autonomy necessary for empathy which is not found in contagion. Fromm extolled
the virtues of humans taking independent action and using reason to establish
moral values rather than adhering to authoritarian moral values. Recognizing
emotions and acknowledging their cause can be one way to avoid emotional
Transfers of emotions have been studied in different situations and settings.
Social and physiological causes are the two largest areas of research.
== #* Workplace ==
The research of Sigal G. Barsade of The Wharton School at The University of
Pennsylvania shows the impact of positive emotions on work groups. "Emotional
contagion, the transfer of emotion between individuals, and its influence on
work group dynamics was examined in two managerial simulations using multiple,
convergent measures of emotions and group dynamics. The studies tested
hypotheses on differential contagion effects due to the degree of pleasantness
of the emotion, and the energy with which this pleasantness was conveyed. After
determining that emotional contagion existed in groups, I then examined the
influence of emotional contagion on individual-level attitudes and group
processes. As predicted, experiencing positive emotional contagion led to
improved cooperation, decreased conflict, and increased perceptions of task
performance - all as rated by self, other group members, and outside video-
coders. The opposite was the case when experiencing negative emotional
contagion. Theoretical implications and practical ramifications of emotional
contagion in groups and organizations are discussed."
== #* Married couples ==
Robert Levenson Phd. researches human psychophysiology. Levenson uses
longitudinal studies of married couples physiological responses. He measures how
empathy requires a calm and receptive emotional environment for the couple to be
in physiological sync. When an emotional hijacking is taking place (anger or
argument) empathy declines and the cognitions of the spouse are blocked. Dr. Ed
Diener maintains that genetics influences our positive and negative
dispositions. David Lykken offers an emotional set point theory he backs up with
habitability studies of twins.
== #* Children ==
Psychologist Elaine Hatfield theorizes emotional contagions as a two-step
process. Step 1: We imitate people, if someone smiles at you, you smile back.
Step 2: Changes in mood through faking it. If you smile you feel happy, if you
frown you feel bad. Mimicry seems to be one foundation of emotional movement
between people. Hour old infants are wired to mimic a person's facial gestures.
When you smile, the baby will smile.
Martin E.P.Seligman, Ph.D. uses synchrony games to build children’s learning
that "your actions matter and can control outcomes". When a baby bangs on a
table the adult bangs on the table, replicating the action. This is one way
emotional learning can be validated by an adult.
== #* Viewed Violence ==
Albert Bandura believed that individuals, especially children learn aggressive
responses from observing others, either personally or through the media and
environment. In his famous Bobo doll experiment he had children watch a Bobo
doll being hit and kicked. He showed that violent behavior increased when
modeled for children.
== #* Radio ==
H.G. Wells created panic when his radio theater broadcast "War of the Worlds".
People believed that the Earth was being invaded from outer space beings.
== #* Mirror Neurons ==
Vittorio Gallese posits that Mirror Neurons are the cause of intentional
attunement in relation to others. Gallese found a class of premotor neurons that
discharge when macaque monkeys execute goal-related hand movements in themselves
or when watching others. One class of these F5 audio-visual neurons will fire
with action execution and observation, and with sound production of the same
action. Research in humans shows an activation of the premotor and parietal
areas of the brain when action perception and execution experiments have been
preformed. Gallese continues his dialogue to say humans understand emotions
through a simulated shared body state. The observers’ neural activation
enables a direct experiential understanding. "Unmediated resonance" is a similar
theory by Goldman and Sripada (2004). Empathy can be a product of the functional
mechanism in our brain that creates embodied simulation. The other we see or
hear becomes the "other self" in our minds.
== #* Amygdala ==
The amygdala is the part of the brain mechanism that underlies empathy and
allows for emotional attunement and creates the pathway for emotional
contagions. The basa areas including the brain stem form a tight loop of
biological connectedness, re-creating in one person the physiological state of
the other. Howard Friedman, a psychologist at University of California at Irvine
thinks this is why some people can move and inspire others. The use of facial
expressions, voices, gestures and body movements transmit emotions to an
audience from a speaker.
The concept of insulating oneself from emotional contagion is called emotional
detachment. Alexithymic conditions may be one avenue people use to avoid
emotional contagions. Primary alexithymia has a distinct neurological basis and
a physical cause, such as genetic abnormality, disrupted biological development
or brain injury (an example would be stroke). Secondary alexithymia results from
psychological influences such as sociocultural conditioning, neurotic
retroflection or defense against trauma. Secondary is often seen in post-
traumatic stress patients. Secondary alexithymia is presumed to be more
transient than primary alexithymia and hence more likely to respond to therapy
Carol Tavris in her review, "Pursued by Fashionable Furies" has this to say
about Author Elaine Showalter; Elaine Showalter, a professor of English and president-
elect of the Modern Language Association, has written a spirited Freudo-literary
analysis of what she calls hysterical epidemics and what social scientists call
emotional contagions or mass psychogenic illnesses. Her six examples are chronic
fatigue syndrome, gulf war syndrome, recovered memories of sexual abuse,
multiple personality disorder, satanic ritual abuse and alien abduction. She
knows full well that throwing the first three into the mix will infuriate
thousands of people who believe they are suffering from unidentified organic
disorders or the aftereffects of trauma. She braves not only their wrath, but
also that of the feminist therapists and writers whose credulous endorsements of
recovered memory and satanic abuse have contributed to these epidemics. Carol
Tavris takes a critical look at what is behind some emotionally contagious
diseases. She sifts the organic from the psychological reasons that people are
diagnosed with emotionally contagious labels. Tavris suggests critical thinking
as the inoculation against false beliefs.
Imago therapy helps people use strategic communication skills to build better
relationships. Dr. Harville Hendrix developed this program to teach people how
to stop and think about what they are feeling then effectively express their
feelings. This stops run-a-way emotions from being transferred in relationships
and becoming unhealthy habits.
Howard Gardner has developed his multiple intelligence theory to include;
Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the
intentions, motivations and desires of other people. It allows people to work
effectively with others. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders
and counselors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence.
Intrapersonal intelligence entails the capacity to understand oneself, to
appreciate one's feelings, fears and motivations. In Howard Gardner's view it
involves having an effective working model of us, and to be able to use such
information to regulate our lives. The use of interpersonal and intrapersonal
intelligence can create an atmosphere of growth for individuals.