This paper examines the potential for emotional contagion to occur in a dyadic electronic task. Emotional contagion occurs when one person influences the emotional state of another through either conscious or unconscious induction. Emotional contagion has been studied extensively in faceto-face settings but has been under-explored in computer-mediated environments. Some computermediated communication studies have determined that the content of electronic messages can contain both cognitive and emotional information and that an individual's attributions, decisions, and judgments are influenced by both emotion and cognition. This paper explores emotional contagion in a relatively mundane programming task using an experimental design. Research confederates (playing the role of fellow students) communicated electronically with research participants (undergraduate business students) using text that was either emotionally positive or negative. Using experience sampling we found that both positive and negative emotional states of research participants can be influenced through the conscious expression of emotionally encoded text.

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International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management
Sprott School of Business

Hine, M.J, Murphy, S.A. (Steven A.), & Ambwani, V. P. (2010). Emotional contagion in computer mediated communication. International Journal of Knowledge, Culture and Change Management, 10(6), 149–163.