The Contagion of Emotion, Perception, and Goal-directed Behavior through Symbolic Environments

By Eric Johnson, Stephen Rice and Kasha Geels.

Published by The Technology Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In a series of four studies we explored how symbolic contagion can occur in a virtual setting. Contagion occurs when an individual adopts a behavior, goal or emotion unintentionally and unconsciously. Participants were presented with situations depicting various virtual communication scenarios where a target individual adopted emotions, goals or behaviors from an acting individual. Additionally, participants were exposed to physical scenarios for a comparison of possible differences between environments. Study 1 sought to explore the basic possibilities for symbolic contagion to occur in a virtual environment. Study 2 was designed to verify that symbolic contagion in a virtual environment could occur in groups. Study 3 focused on goal contagion in a virtual gaming environment. Study 4 focused on the possibility for emotional contagion in a virtual environment. Results indicated that symbolic contagion occurs in various virtual environments. Additionally, contagion was at least as strong in virtual environments as in physical environments.

Keywords: Contagion, Internet, Symbolic, Environments

International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp.79-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 799.383KB).

Eric Johnson

Undergraduate Student, Psychology, New Mexico State University, New Mexico, USA

Dr. Stephen Rice

Assistant Professor, Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

Kasha Geels

Student, Psychology, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA

Ms. Kasha Geels is currently a graduate student in Engineering Psychology at New Mexico State University. She received her B.A. in Psychology from New Mexico State University in 2010.

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