Interpersonal emotion transfer: Contagion and social appraisal
Exposure to someone else's emotion can lead us to experience similar feelings. This paper considers two processes (emotion contagion and social appraisal) that may contribute to interpersonal emotion transfer (IET) effects of this kind. Research shows that people automatically mimic other people's perceived movements including their emotion expressions. However, IET does not seem to depend directly on mimicry, suggesting that other processes underlie contagion. Social appraisal is supported by studies showing that IET may depend on changes in explicit interpretations and evaluations of events, as well as implicitly registered cues relating to the direction of attention. Future research needs to focus more on the object-focus of emotion expressions and their contextual meaning in order to explain the variety of reported IET effects. © 2011 The Author. Social and Personality Psychology Compass © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.