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Description: In intergroup conflicts, emotion regulation interventions can decrease negative intergroup emotions and increase support for concessions. However, it is usually infeasible to provide emotion regulation interventions to everyone in a population of interest. This raises a “spill over” question about the relationship between the proportion of individuals who are treated with an emotion regulation intervention and its effectiveness at the whole-group level. To address this fundamental question, we had groups of six Israeli participants (N = 2,659) share real-time responses to anger-inducing, conflict-related stimuli. Before interacting with each other, we treated different proportions of each group with an emotion regulation intervention called cognitive reappraisal. This intervention involved teaching selected participants to change the interpretation of events to reduce negative emotions. Results indicated an exponential relationship between the proportion of treated participants and group reduction in negative emotions. Furthermore, targeting between 25%-40% of participants resulted in group emotional change. Using language analysis, we validated contagion in semantic content between treated and non-treated participants. These findings shed light on the potential for emotion regulation contagion to reduce groups’ emotions, and more broadly, suggest the value of investigating the contagion of psychological interventions within groups.

License: Academic Free License (AFL) 3.0

Has supplemental materials for Emotion Regulation Contagion on OSF Preprints


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pilot Study: testing emotional dynamics

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