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Emotional Contagion

Doug Noll | 16:58


Welcome back, and this training is all about emotional contagion. And really, if we think about it, it's uh, about how we inoculate ourselves against the anger of other people. So the question that we always ask is, why do I become defensive in the presence of angry people? Or why do I become anxious in the presence of angry people?

Or fearful or angry myself, or even emotional, maybe you feel completely clenched up and the only thing you can do is run somewhere else and cry a little bit to release all of the brain toxins that have built up because you're in the presence of angry people. And the reason is because of a. Phenomenon known as emotional contagion.

Emotional contagion is the transfer of emotions between people. It occurs automatically and it's also unconscious. Most of the time we're not even aware that it's activated and working on us. It is key to communication in groups. Because it facilitates rapid transfer of information without the need for speaking or communicating verbally.

And most importantly, the communication of negative threat related emotions is was, is so critical and really was so critical to our. Predecessors 250 years, thousand years ago that anger and fear contagion are an especially automatic process. What this means is that over the millions of years of evolution, our predecessors developed an innate ability to spread fear and anxiety amongst a group quickly and efficiently, so that if one person spotted a predator quickly, everybody else.

Was able to key in on that person's fear and anxiety and everybody became alert. And obviously that facilitated survival in a very hostile and dangerous environment.

So one way to think about this is that people are walking mood inductors. I love that phrase, walking mood, inductors. So basically what this means is we are constantly. Influencing the moods and emotions and judgments and behaviors of every group that we're in. So when you're at the office or your working your organization, not only is your mood and emotional state affecting everybody else, but everybody else's mood and emotion is affecting you.

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