Stress, Affiliation, and Emotional Contagion

Brooks B. Gump, James A. Kulik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

234 Scopus citations

Abstract

Female participants were exposed to high or low threat in the presence of another person believed to be facing either the same or a different situation. In Study 1, each dyad consisted of 2 actual participants whereas in Study 2, each dyad consisted of 1 participant and 1 confederate, trained to convey either a calm or a nervous reaction to the situation. Affiliation patterns in both studies, defined in terms of the amount of time spent looking at the affiliate, were consistent with S. Schachter's (1959) "emotional similarity hypothesis"; threat increased affiliation and did so particularly with affiliates believed to be facing the same situation. The authors also found evidence of behavioral mimicry, in terms of facial expressions, and emotional contagion, in terms of self-reported anxiety. The behavioral mimicry and emotional contagion results are considered from both primitive emotional contagion and social comparison theory perspectives.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-319
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume72
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1997
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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