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Journal Article

Emotional Contagion Effects on Product Attitudes

Daniel J. Howard and Charles Gengler
Journal of Consumer Research
Vol. 28, No. 2 (September 2001), pp. 189-201
Published by: Oxford University Press
DOI: 10.1086/322897
Stable URL:
Page Count: 13
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Emotional Contagion Effects on Product Attitudes
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Two experiments examine the existence of, and explanation for, emotional contagion effects on product attitudes. In the first experiment, emotional contagion occurred among “receivers” who “caught” a happy emotion from “senders” whom the receivers liked. The relationship between the emotion experienced by senders and receivers was found to be mediated by receivers mimicking smiling on the part of senders. Exposing receivers to happy senders they liked also resulted in receivers having a positive attitudinal bias toward a product. The happiness experienced by receivers via contagion was found to mediate the effects of sender emotion and receiver liking of the sender on receiver product attitudes. The second experiment replicated the first while demonstrating that observation of the facial expressions of senders by receivers, thus allowing mimicking of smiling, was a necessary condition for emotional contagion to occur. The relevance of emotional contagion for understanding consumer behavior across various substantive domains is discussed.

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