A. Why do we catch each other’s moods?
Many researchers have been studying on the reasons why people catch other people’s feelings or rather moods and found out that people undergo the same due to transference or reflection and this emotional contagion is highly experienced in people who probably have common interest, or even are close to one another. Emotional infectivity as stipulated by Hatfield et al occurs through synchronization and automatic mimicry of one’s movements, postures, vocalization, and expressions with the ones of a different or another person. As a result, when people involuntarily mimic their friend’s expressions of sentiment, they appear to undergo more or less similar reflections of their colleague’s emotions. Subsequently, feelings are able to be shared athwart persons in many diverse ways both explicitly or implicitly. For instance, imagination, analysis, and conscious reasoning have entirely been discovered to have a say on the occurrence (Hatfield, Cacioppo, & Rapson, 1994). Transference has been known to be a factor contributing to people catching others’ feelings and it was initially studied by Sigmund Freud who expounded on psychoanalysis towards improved comprehension of patient’s feelings (Freud, & Strachey 1991). Hence, people catch feelings since they identify themselves with other people and they greatly understand their emotions and thus take up their moods through transference and reflection either consciously or even unconsciously (Hatfield, Cacioppo, & Rapson, 1994).
B. How does this tendency benefit us as members of our species and society?
Catching feelings for other people is quite beneficial as members of our species and more so society in that we are able to acquire or rather get in an improved mood and also facilitate psychologists in helping their patients ‘catch a better mood.’ The human species require motivations in their day to day endeavors and therefore this phenomenon helps people boost their moods when they surround themselves with those who are high in spirits. Some people tend to abruptly succumb easily to others’ emotions and even though this can be interpreted as indentifying with the person’s mood, but it is also not appropriate and that won’t help them counteract the moods. Taking intellectual perspective is the way forward as this helps in indentifying the factors behind the feelings and formulates better methods of coping with it. Human beings are quite complex creatures and they at all times feel the emotions of other people and this helps in assisting one another in events of challenges ranging from financial problems to personal relationships as the phenomenon fosters expressive synchrony amongst individuals (Jung 1998).
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Freud, S., & Strachey, J. (1991).Introductory lectures on psychoanalysis. London: Penguin Books.
Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1994). Emotional contagion. Cambridge [England: Cambridge University Press ;.
Jung, C. G. (1998). The psychology of the transference. London: Routledge.