- June 17, năm trước 111 (24) 8788-8790; first published June 2, 2014;

Edited by Susan T. Fiske, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, và approved March 25, 2014 (received for reviews October 23, 2013)



We show, via a massive (N = 689,003) experiment on Facebook, that emotional states can be transferred lớn others via emotional contagion, leading people to lớn experience the same emotions without their awareness. We provide experimental evidence that emotional contagion occurs without direct interaction between people (exposure to a friend expressing an emotion is sufficient), and in the complete absence of nonverbal cues.

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Emotional states can be transferred lớn others via emotional contagion, leading people lớn experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive sầu & negative emotions lớn others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks BMJ 337:a2338>, although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we demo whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive sầu expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts và more negative sầu posts; when negative sầu expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to lớn prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, & that the observation of others’ positive experiences constitutes a positive sầu experience for people.

Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading them to lớn experience the same emotions as those around them. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments (1), in which people transfer positive và negative sầu moods and emotions lớn others. Similarly, data from a large, real-world social network collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks as well (2, 3).

The interpretation of this network effect as contagion of mood has come under scrutiny due to the study’s correlational nature, including concerns over misspecification of contextual variables or failure khổng lồ account for shared experiences (4, 5), raising important questions regarding contagion processes in networks. An experimental approach can address this scrutiny directly; however, methods used in controlled experiments have sầu been criticized for examining emotions after social interactions. Interacting with a happy person is pleasant (& an unhappy person, unpleasant). As such, contagion may result from experiencing an interaction rather than exposure to lớn a partner’s emotion. Prior studies have also failed lớn address whether nonverbal cues are necessary for contagion lớn occur, or if verbal cues alone suffice. Evidence that positive sầu and negative moods are correlated in networks (2, 3) suggests that this is possible, but the causal question of whether contagion processes occur for emotions in massive social networks remains elusive sầu in the absence of experimental evidence. Further, others have suggested that in online social networks, exposure to lớn the happiness of others may actually be depressing to us, producing an “alone together” social comparison effect (6).

Three studies have sầu laid the groundwork for testing these processes via Facebook, the largest online social network. This retìm kiếm demonstrated that (i) emotional contagion occurs via text-based computer-mediated communication (7); (ii) contagion of psychological and physiological qualities has been suggested based on correlational data for social networks generally (7, 8); and (iii) people’s emotional expressions on Facebook predict friends’ emotional expressions, even days later (7) (although some shared experiences may in fact last several days). To date, however, there is no experimental evidence that emotions or moods are contagious in the absence of direct interaction between experiencer & target.

On Facebook, people frequently express emotions, which are later seen by their friends via Facebook’s “News Feed” sản phẩm (8). Because people’s friends frequently produce much more content than one person can view, the News Feed filters posts, stories, & activities undertaken by friends. News Feed is the primary manner by which people see content that friends nội dung. Which content is shown or omitted in the News Feed is determined via a ranking algorithm that Facebook continually develops & tests in the interest of showing viewers the nội dung they will find most relevant & engaging. One such chạy thử is reported in this study: A thử nghiệm of whether posts with emotional nội dung are more engaging.

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The experiment manipulated the extent to which people (N = 689,003) were exposed khổng lồ emotional expressions in their News Feed. This tested whether exposure lớn emotions led people khổng lồ change their own posting behaviors, in particular whether exposure to lớn emotional nội dung led people lớn post nội dung that was consistent with the exposure—thereby testing whether exposure to lớn verbal affective sầu expressions leads to lớn similar verbal expressions, a size of emotional contagion. People who viewed Facebook in English were qualified for selection into the experiment. Two parallel experiments were conducted for positive sầu & negative sầu emotion: One in which exposure to friends’ positive emotional content in their News Feed was reduced, & one in which exposure to lớn negative sầu emotional nội dung in their News Feed was reduced. In these conditions, when a person loaded their News Feed, posts that contained emotional nội dung of the relevant emotional valence, each emotional post had between a 10% và 90% chance (based on their User ID) of being omitted from their News Feed for that specific viewing. It is important to lớn note that this content was always available by viewing a friend’s content directly by going khổng lồ that friend’s “wall” or “timeline,” rather than via the News Feed. Further, the omitted nội dung may have appeared on prior or subsequent views of the News Feed. Finally, the experiment did not affect any direct messages sent from one user to lớn another.

Posts were determined lớn be positive sầu or negative if they contained at least one positive or negative sầu word, as defined by Linguistic Inquiry và Word Count software (LIWC2007) (9) word counting system, which correlates with self-reported and physiological measures of well-being, và has been used in prior research on emotional expression (7, 8, 10). LIWC was adapted khổng lồ run on the Hadoop Map/Reduce system (11) & in the News Feed filtering system, such that no text was seen by the researchers. As such, it was consistent with Facebook’s Data Use Policy, lớn which all users agree prior lớn creating an trương mục on Facebook, constituting informed consent for this research. Both experiments had a control condition, in which a similar proportion of posts in their News Feed were omitted entirely at random (i.e., without respect lớn emotional content). Separate control conditions were necessary as 22.4% of posts contained negative words, whereas 46.8% of posts contained positive sầu words. So for a person for whom 10% of posts containing positive sầu nội dung were omitted, an appropriate control would withhold 10% of 46.8% (i.e., 4.68%) of posts at random, compared with omitting only 2.24% of the News Feed in the negativity-reduced control.

The experiments took place for 1 wk (January 11–18, 2012). Participants were randomly selected based on their User ID, resulting in a total of ∼155,000 participants per condition who posted at least one status update during the experimental period.

For each experiment, two dependent variables were examined pertaining to lớn emotionality expressed in people’s own status updates: the percentage of all words produced by a given person that was either positive sầu or negative sầu during the experimental period (as in ref. 7). In total, over 3 million posts were analyzed, containing over 122 million words, 4 million of which were positive sầu (3.6%) & 1.8 million negative sầu (1.6%).

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If affective sầu states are contagious via verbal expressions on Facebook (our operationalization of emotional contagion), people in the positivity-reduced condition should be less positive compared with their control, và people in the negativity-reduced condition should be less negative sầu. As a secondary measure, we tested for cross-emotional contagion in which the opposite emotion should be inversely affected: People in the positivity-reduced condition should express increased negativity, whereas people in the negativity-reduced condition should express increased positivity. Emotional expression was modeled, on a per-person basis, as the percentage of words produced by that person during the experimental period that were either positive sầu or negative. Positivity and negativity were evaluated separately given evidence that they are not simply opposite ends of the same spectrum (8, 10). Indeed, negative sầu & positive word use scarcely correlated <r = −0.04, t(6trăng tròn,587) = −38.01, P 0.13), we examined overall posting rate via a Poisson regression, using the percent of posts omitted as a regression weight. Omitting emotional nội dung reduced the amount of words the person subsequently produced, both when positivity was reduced (z = −4.78, P Fig. 1 illustrates, for people who had positive nội dung reduced in their News Feed, a larger percentage of words in people’s status updates were negative sầu and a smaller percentage were positive. When negativity was reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results suggest that the emotions expressed by friends, via online social networks, influence our own moods, constituting, to lớn our knowledge, the first experimental evidence for massive-scale emotional contagion via social networks (3, 7, 8), and providing support for previously contested claims that emotions spread via contagion through a network.