Smile Mimicry and Emotional Contagion in Audio-Visual Computer-Mediated Communication

Phoebe H. C. Mui*, Martijn B. Goudbeek, Camiel Roex, Wout Spierts, Marc G. J. Swerts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

We investigate whether smile mimicry and emotional contagion are evident in non-text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC). Via an ostensibly real-time audio-visual CMC platform, participants interacted with a confederate who either smiled radiantly or displayed a neutral expression throughout the interaction. Automatic analyses of expressions displayed by participants indicated that smile mimicry was at play: A higher level of activation of the facial muscle that characterizes genuine smiles was observed among participants who interacted with the smiling confederate than among participants who interacted with the unexpressive confederate. However, there was no difference in the self-reported level of joviality between participants in the two conditions. Our findings demonstrate that people mimic smiles in audio-visual CMC, but that even though the diffusion of emotions has been documented in text-based CMC in previous studies, we find no convincing support for the phenomenon of emotional contagion in non-text-based CMC.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2077
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • smile mimicry
  • emotional contagion
  • computer-mediated communication
  • audio-visual communication
  • nonverbal behavior
  • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS
  • BEHAVIORAL MIMICRY
  • SOCIAL-INTERACTION
  • DUCHENNE SMILE
  • PERCEPTION
  • RECIPROCITY
  • TASK

Cite this

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title = "Smile Mimicry and Emotional Contagion in Audio-Visual Computer-Mediated Communication",
abstract = "We investigate whether smile mimicry and emotional contagion are evident in non-text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC). Via an ostensibly real-time audio-visual CMC platform, participants interacted with a confederate who either smiled radiantly or displayed a neutral expression throughout the interaction. Automatic analyses of expressions displayed by participants indicated that smile mimicry was at play: A higher level of activation of the facial muscle that characterizes genuine smiles was observed among participants who interacted with the smiling confederate than among participants who interacted with the unexpressive confederate. However, there was no difference in the self-reported level of joviality between participants in the two conditions. Our findings demonstrate that people mimic smiles in audio-visual CMC, but that even though the diffusion of emotions has been documented in text-based CMC in previous studies, we find no convincing support for the phenomenon of emotional contagion in non-text-based CMC.",
keywords = "smile mimicry, emotional contagion, computer-mediated communication, audio-visual communication, nonverbal behavior, FACIAL EXPRESSIONS, BEHAVIORAL MIMICRY, SOCIAL-INTERACTION, DUCHENNE SMILE, PERCEPTION, RECIPROCITY, TASK",
author = "Mui, {Phoebe H. C.} and Goudbeek, {Martijn B.} and Camiel Roex and Wout Spierts and Swerts, {Marc G. J.}",
year = "2018",
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language = "English",
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Smile Mimicry and Emotional Contagion in Audio-Visual Computer-Mediated Communication. / Mui, Phoebe H. C.; Goudbeek, Martijn B.; Roex, Camiel; Spierts, Wout; Swerts, Marc G. J.

In: Frontiers in Psychology, Vol. 9, 2077, 05.11.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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AU - Swerts, Marc G. J.

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AB - We investigate whether smile mimicry and emotional contagion are evident in non-text-based computer-mediated communication (CMC). Via an ostensibly real-time audio-visual CMC platform, participants interacted with a confederate who either smiled radiantly or displayed a neutral expression throughout the interaction. Automatic analyses of expressions displayed by participants indicated that smile mimicry was at play: A higher level of activation of the facial muscle that characterizes genuine smiles was observed among participants who interacted with the smiling confederate than among participants who interacted with the unexpressive confederate. However, there was no difference in the self-reported level of joviality between participants in the two conditions. Our findings demonstrate that people mimic smiles in audio-visual CMC, but that even though the diffusion of emotions has been documented in text-based CMC in previous studies, we find no convincing support for the phenomenon of emotional contagion in non-text-based CMC.

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