Emotional Contagion: A Brief Overview and Future Directions

Carolina Herrando*, Efthymios Constantinides

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Social interactions can trigger emotional contagion between individuals resulting in behavioral synchrony. Emotional contagion can be a very effective and attractive strategy in communication and advertising, and understanding the mechanisms underlying emotional contagion can help marketers to improve their commercial approaches or develop better ones. The purpose of this study is to review and classify the various methodologies and theoretical approaches on emotional contagion, identify the best practices in this domain, and identify ways of gaging and measuring emotional contagion. The study is based on a mini literature review. We identify different mechanisms and approaches to emotional contagion described in the literature. Emotional contagion can be triggered by facial expressions, indirect human interactions, and/or by observing other people's behavior in direct and indirect interactions. Furthermore, emotional contagion can be triggered physiologically or neurologically by synchronizing with the emotional state of others during human interactions. Regarding the assessment and measurement of emotional contagion, we argue that methods based on neuroscience tools are much more accurate and effective than methods based on traditional research approaches. The study identifies guidelines for research on commercial communication through emotional contagion that can be especially interesting for academia and marketing practitioners. The findings are important for field marketers interested in developing new individualized approaches in their commercial strategies and marketing in general. In addition, the study can become the basis of research that further refines and compares the efficacy of the various techniques and tools involved.

Original languageEnglish
Article number712606
Number of pages7
JournalFrontiers in psychology
Volume12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • arousal
  • decision-making process
  • emotional contagion
  • emotional state
  • emotions
  • facial expression
  • neuroscience
  • physiological reaction

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