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I’m sad you’re sad: Emotional contagion in CMC


An enduring assumption about computer-mediated communication is that it undermines emotional understanding. The present study examined emotional communication in CMC by inducing negative affect in one condition and neutral affect in another. The results revealed that 1) participants experiencing negative affect produced fewer words, used more sad terms, and exchanged messages at a slower rate, 2) their partners were able to detect their partners emotional state, and 3) emotional contagion took place, in which partners interacting with participants in the negative affect condition had significantly less positive affect than partners in the control condition. These data support a relational view of CMC.

J.T. Hancock
K. Gee
K. Ciaciaco
J. Mae
Proceedings of the ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW 2008). (Acceptance Rate: 16%; Best Note Nomination)
Publication Date
November 12, 2008