Emotional contagion triggered by online consumer reviews: Evidence from a neuroscience study

Carolina Herrando*, Julio Jiménez-Martínez, María José Martín-De Hoyos, Efthymios Constantinides

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)
153 Downloads (Pure)


People tend to align with the emotional state of the person that is talking to them (the observed). Similarly, while processing information consumers can also experience this emotional contagion. Emotional contagion can activate in those who process information (the observer) similar responses in the autonomic nervous system and the neural responses as in those who create such information (the observed), triggering a certain level of arousal. Neuroscience enables researchers to study emotional contagion by monitoring the activation of neural structures and physiological responses. This study draws on the theory of arousal to investigate how different combinations of online consumer review (OCR) valence can trigger different emotions and customer experiences in the observer (the one who reads the OCRs). This study conducts a consumer neuroscience experiment to monitor emotional arousal. The physiological analyses (through skin conductance response) confirm that the emotional arousal of the observer aligns with that of the observed. The neural analyses (through electroencephalography) show the valence of the arousal, which indicates that negative OCRs activate arousal and pleasure in the observer, while positive OCRs are associated with arousal deactivation and displeasure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102973
JournalJournal of Retailing and Consumer Services
Early online date5 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Arousal
  • Consumer neuroscience
  • EEG
  • Emotional contagion
  • SCR
  • Digital Marketing


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