So… what does the study tell us?

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Lots of people are aware of or infuriated by the Facebook study (link to the paper), so I won’t go into detail about what has happened. Out of curiosity, I downloaded and skimmed through the PNAS article. The significance of the study is that direct interaction between people and nonverbal expression are NOT required for emotional contagion. What I would have liked to see more, though, is a discussion about what this study tells us about human psychological processes. If we don’t need to see the person on the other end but we are still affected by him/her, how close should we feel to him/her for emotional contagion to work? What is the authors’ speculation on how someone’s language is perceived and interpreted to have this ripple effect? Why are we wired that way?

Is this kind of discussion beyond the scope of psychological studies?

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