Emotional Contagion / Edition 1by Elaine Hatfield, John T. Cacioppo, Richard L. Rapson
Pub. Date: 09/24/1993
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
When people are in a certain mood, whether elated or depressed, that mood is often communicated to others. When we are talking to someone who is depressed it may make us feel depressed, whereas if we talk to someone who is feeling self-confident and buoyant we are likely to feel good about ourselves. This phenomenon, known as emotional contagion, is identified here,… See more details below
When people are in a certain mood, whether elated or depressed, that mood is often communicated to others. When we are talking to someone who is depressed it may make us feel depressed, whereas if we talk to someone who is feeling self-confident and buoyant we are likely to feel good about ourselves. This phenomenon, known as emotional contagion, is identified here, and compelling evidence for its effects is offered from a variety of disciplines--social and developmental psychology, history, cross-cultural psychology, experimental psychology, and psychopathology. The authors propose a simple mechanism to account for the process of contagion. They argue that people, in their everyday encounters, tend automatically and continuously to synchronize with the facial expressions, voices, postures, movements, and instrumental emotional behaviors of others. Emotional experiences are affected, moment-to-moment, by the feedback from such mimicry. In a series of orderly chapters, the authors provide observational and laboratory evidence to support their propositions. They then offer practical suggestions for clinical psychologists, physicians, husbands and wives, parents, and professionals who wish to become better at shaping the emotional tone of social encounters.
Table of Contents1. Introduction; 2. Animal research; 3. Developmental research: A. Evidence that children catch their parents' emotions; B. Evidence that parents catch their childrens' emotions; 4. Clinical research: A. Therapists' reaction to clients: i. Clinicians assessment of clients' emotional states: Conscious judgments versus emotional contagion; ii. Do therapists' expectations subtly effect emotional contagion?; B. Psychopathic clients; C. Peoples' reactions to the anxious, depressed, or angry; 5. Social psychological research: A. Cross-cultural research: hysterical contagion; B. Experimental social psychological research; 6. Historical research: A. The dancing manias of the Middle-Ages; B. The great fear of 1789; C. The New York City riots of 1863; D. Man's inhumanity to man; 6. Summing up.
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While reading Malcolm Bradwell's best-seller--'The Tipping Point'--Bradwell described 'Emotional Contagion' as 'brilliant.' So I went to the source and found it just that. It offers rigorous explanations for how emotions and ideas spread around, using fascinating experimental data from Psychology and Molecular Biology. But that makes this book sound dryer than it is. Not at all; it's beautifully written and spiced with many historical and cultural examples as well. I think it's an important book.