Sneaky study indicates Facebook emotions are contagious

New research indicates emotions are contagious — even in the digital world of Facebook.


Researchers at the big blue social network conducted an experiment on nearly 700,000 of the network’s users, without their knowledge.


They removed emotionally positive posts from one group of users, and removed emotionally negative posts from another. Any such emotionally loaded posts had between a 10 percent and 90 percent chance of being omitted from user timelines.


The researchers found the behavior of their subjects matched their altered timelines. Those who saw more positive posts posted more positive updates of their own, and vice versa.


In their paper, published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, they explain: “In contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion.”

Learn more about the study and the elements necessary for emotional contagion in this Newsy video.

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