Monday, October 27, 2014

tweet #15

Friday, October 24, 2014

bit of contagion

Jeff Hancock was our guest at today's "Databite." His spiel concerned the Facebook emotional contagion study, about which, justly, many people continue to write. A tidbit fell out of Jeff's talk and caught my attention.

The Facebook study grew from prior work that challenged the contention that emotional contagion, observable in face to face interactions, doesn't happen in text-only situations. You know: no one can tell you're being sarcastic in email! The prior work was undertaken in a lab setting. Subjects would communicate through a text-based chat program. One subject would be manipulated so as to be in a negative emotional state, and then the researchers would measure whether that negative feeling spread to the interlocutor. But! In order to overcome the therapeutic effect wherein simply communicating with someone else helps you feel better, researchers had to devise a means of maintaining half the dyad in a persistent negative state.