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The Role of Emotional Contagion

Abstract

The present study has vested much time and effort to relate customer service to overall market growth without underlying the emotional contagion. This study is limited to the customer service component by analyzing the effect of customer service, employees’ attitudes during their interactions with individual clients, and the extent to which this influences clients in making the final buying decision or seeking alternative providers.

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The study’s parameters were both verbal and non-verbal cues, with phone conversations and personal interactions being researched. The study hypothesis draws ten customer service employees from local-based industries to interact with 100 customers. The employees varied the degree of their smiling, conduct, seriousness, attitude, and emotive labor display by simulating excellent and lousy customer service practices.

Results of the study show that customer service behavior directly affects customers’ emotional states. But this does not solely influence their final purchase decisions. Other underlying factors are pricing and quality, whose overall effect on the purchase decision is 70%. Also, after-sale service 20% with the quality of customer service with its overall emotional impact on whether an emotionally attached or detached customer service employee contributes to 10% of clients overall purchase decision. Therefore, it is evident that emotional contagion by customer service employees is important for any company. Moreover, employees’ feelings influence customer outcomes, particularly in decision making, which is essential for marketers and leaders to learn how to use emotional contagion effectively.

Emotional Contagion

Emotions play a massive role in the way human beings behave. They define feelings that are influenced by thoughts and behaviors from the alterations in the surrounding. Emotions are associated with various psychological phenomena, such as temperament, mood, personality, and motivation (Izard, 2009). Besides, one person’s emotions can trigger a similar emotional response in those around them. The condition is referred to as emotional contagion and leads to positive or negative feelings (Hatfield, Bensman, Thornton, & Rapson, 2014). This paper discusses concepts of emotion, the role of limbic structures, the universal nature of showing and recognizing emotional expressions, and strategies to deploy to control emotional contagion.

Emotions

Feelings are subject to external experiences that comprise physiological, neurological, and cognitive appraisal. The emotional responses are affected by the sensors in the brain to process qualities relevant to the feelings. Various theories describe emotional experiences, including James-Lange theory, the Cannon-Bard theory, Schachter-Singer two-factor theory, and the Lazarus theory (Dumper, Jenkins, Lacombe, Lovette &Perimutter, 2019). The James-Lange theory of emotion emphasizes that emotions originate from physical reactions. It suggests that seeing an exterior provocation results in a physical response; for example, if a person sees a snake in the backyard, they will begin to tremble. Their heart rate increases and the brain interprets the trembling as fear. However, they are not shaking because they are frightened; instead, they feel afraid because they are trembling. The Cannon-Bard theory of feeling is a physiological theory that suggests that people experience physiological reactions without feeling emotions. For example, if an individual sees a snake, they express fear and simultaneously, their body produces its fight or flight response (Dumper et al., 2019).

Therefore, the emotional reaction is simultaneous but independent. The Schachter-Singer two-factor concept of feeling defines emotions as encompassing two aspects: physiological and cognitive (Dumper et al., 2019). Hence, a physiological response is interpreted to produce an emotional experience. For instance, if a person sees a snake, it triggers sympathetic nervous system activation known as fear. The Lazarus cognitive theory explains that emotions follow a sequence of events that involve stimuli, followed by a thought, then the physiological response, and finally, an emotional reaction.

Limbic Structure

The limbic structure is a set of systems in the brain that deal with emotions and memory. It regulates the endocrine function in response to an emotional stimulus and reinforces the behavior. It comprises four main parts, namely: the hypothalamus, the amygdala, thalamus, and hippocampus. Additionally, these areas are crucial in specific memories as they are connected to the olfactory system for survival. The amygdala and hippocampus play a role in processing emotions, psychological moods, and anxiety disorders.

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Recognizing Emotions

Culture influences how people show their emotions, as varying backgrounds have different ways of culturally displaying emotions. For instance, Americans can express their negative feelings in front of others, but people do so alone in Japan. Also, men show their feelings differently as compared to women. Despite the differences in the display of emotions, the ability to recognize and produce facial expressions is universal (Carr, Winkielman, & Oveis, 2014). Moreover, the sound quality of our voices, deeds, and gestures communicates our emotional state.

How to Use the Power of Emotional Contagion to Change Moods

Emotions are part of human lives and can be positive or negative. While negative emotions can lead to low moods and lack of motivation, they enable us to be alert and to notice dangerous cues. Additionally, emotional contagion influences communication; therefore, it is essential to understand how to use emotional contagion to shift an individual’s emotions. First, one needs to surround themselves with people they like, helping reduce negative contagion. Second, individuals should maximize the time spent with their loved ones, as it improves health hygiene. Third, limiting news intake and time spent on social media will help cut down negative emotions. Fourth, following positivity will improve one’s mood and unsubscribing from the negativity by practicing mindfulness, exercising, and volunteering will enhance positive attitudes. Fifth, making new friends provides a counterbalance during challenging times. Finally, being aware of the emotions is vital as it enables one to put perspective on the cause of the negative emotions to take steps to eliminate the conditions that cause it.

Conclusion

Human beings emotions’ can be transmitted from one person to another; a phenomenon called emotional contagion. Individuals tend to mimic others’ facial expressions and feelings by being happy when someone else is cheerful. The contagion occurs because human beings process their emotions from how they perceive what is in their surroundings. Emotions exert a powerful force on human behavior, which affects their mood. Emotional contagion has captivated researchers, primarily due to its relevance in the workplace. It is also critical in the study of leadership and how they can use emotional contagion to improve group performance. Therefore, it is essential to understand how to use emotional contagion to enhance our moods. Since it is difficult to control those around us, there are ways in which we can avoid negative emotions. They include being aware of the feelings, cutting down time spent on social media, spending time with loved ones, practicing mindfulness and exercising, and surrounding oneself with positive people to help reduce their impact, affecting human beings psychologically.

References

Carr, E. W., Winkielman, P., & Oveis, C. (2014). Transforming the mirror: Power fundamentally changes facial responses to emotional expressions. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(3), 997-1003. Web.

Dumper, K., Jenkins, W., Lacombe, A., Lovette, M., & Perimutter, M. (2019). 9.4 emotion – Introductory psychology. Web.

Hatfield, E., Bensman, L., Thornton, P. D., & Rapson, R. L. (2014). New perspectives on emotional contagion: A review of classic and recent research on facial mimicry and contagion. Interpersonal: An International Journal on Personal Relationships, 8(2), 159-179. Web.

Izard, C. E. (2009). Emotion theory and research: Highlights, unanswered questions, and emerging issues. Annual Review of Psychology, 60(1), 1-25. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2022, August 16). The Role of Emotional Contagion. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-role-of-emotional-contagion/

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