Cognitive Strategies And The Risk Of Emotional Contagion

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This study investigates different cognitive strategies in which people can reduce the risk of emotional contagion. Schoenewolf (1990, cited in Barsade, 2002, pp. 4) defined emotional contagion as “a process in which a person or group influences the emotions or behaviour of another person or group through the conscious or unconscious induction of emotion states and behavioural attitude”. This description has been further supported by Hatfield, Cacioppo, & Rapson (1992, pp. 153-154) who stated that emotional contagion is when one unconsciously imitates the characteristics of another person, therefore allowing oneself to feel and to be influenced by these emotions. Current Study This research aims to establish what strategy is most efficient in restricting the passing of emotions between people. Participants, referred to as “therapists” in this study, listened to “clients” describing a positive or negative situation. Self-reports and facial affect were used as a means of measurement. Participation engagement was also taken into consideration. Two cognitive strategies most relevant to reducing emotional contagion identified by Gross and Thomson (2007) are; 1. Attentional deployment, where one pays greater attention to particular features in an occurring situation. The attentional deployment strategies for this study are; empathic imagery, where one must mentally place themselves in the situation. Dissociation is the second attentional deployment strategy. This involves
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