Beyond Emotional Similarity: The Role of Situation-Specific Motives
It is well established that people often express emotions that are similar to those of other group members. It is not yet clear, however, whether and to what extent situations that activate specific emotional motives influence the tendency to show emotional similarity. In the present research, we examined this issue by considering emotional responses to political situations that either called for weak (Studies 1 and 3) or strong (Study 2 and 4) negative emotions.
Findings revealed that the motivation to feel weak emotions led people to be more influenced by weaker emotions than their own, whereas the motivation to feel strong emotions led people to be more influenced by stronger emotions than their own. Intriguingly, these motivations led people to change their emotions even after discovering that others’ emotions were similar to their initial emotional response. These findings are observed both in a lab task (Studies 1-3) and in real-life online interactions on Twitter (Study 4). Our findings enhance our ability to understand and predict emotional influence processes in different contexts and may therefore help explain how these processes unfold in group behavior.
D. Garcia, A. Goldenberg, E. Halperin, et al, Beyond Emotional Similarity: The Role of Situation-Specific Motives, 2018 (preprint).