• A
  • A
  • A
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • ABC
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
  • А
Regular version of the site

HSE University Researchers Adapt Emotional Contagion Scale to Russian Language

HSE University Researchers Adapt Emotional Contagion Scale to Russian Language

© iStock

Scholars from the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience have translated the Emotional Contagion Scale into Russian and validated it on Russian-speaking participants. It was the first study of how people unconsciously ‘catch’ other people’s emotions using a Russian sample. The results of the survey, which involved more than 500 respondents, demonstrate that women are more inclined to imitate emotions of others than men. The study was published in Frontiers in Psychology

The emotional contagion phenomenon is an ability to perceive other people’s emotions and start experiencing the same emotions. If someone is smiling in communication, it is likely that others will start smiling as well. Emotional contagion happens on the level of facial expressions, body language, posture, and vocal expressions.

Unlike conscious empathy, contagion is unconscious and precise mimicry of other people’s feelings. A vivid example is the actions of a crowd during an emergency. People do not understand what is happening, immediately catch other people’s fear, and start acting as thoughtlessly as others.

To study this phenomenon, researchers use the Emotional Contagion Scale. The survey consists of 15 questions and has been successfully used in the U.S., China, Greece, Japan, and other countries; the Russian version of the questionnaire had not existed until recently. Scholars from the HSE Institute for Cognitive Neuroscience translated the questionnaire into Russian and validated it on Russian-speaking participants. 518 respondents participated in the survey, including 319 women and 199 men.

The scale is based on five emotions: love, happiness, fear, anger, and sadness. To find the most precise version of the scale, the researchers tested several variations. They asked different subsamples of respondents to complete questionnaires of empathy and sensation seeking. Among the few variations of the scale, only the one-factor model showed effectiveness: the scholars got a realistic indicator of a general individual’s predisposition to emotional contagion. However, the scale has not yet demonstrated the emotions that people are more likely to ‘catch’. In the future, the researchers plan to obtain reliable questionnaires on contagion for different feelings, including those for the study of people with emotional disorders.

Vladimir Kosonogov, Head of the International Laboratory of Social Neurobiology

‘Thanks to the Russian adaptation of the Emotional Contagion Scale, we managed to demonstrate that in most countries, including Russia, women are more predisposed to emotional contagion than men. We observe the same difference in empathy and emotional sensitivity. It looks like this is related to general higher emotionality of females, which is confirmed by other studies. But all this data has been obtained through surveys. In the future, we plan to find out how emotional contagion differs in men and women on physiological level.’

The Emotional Contagion Scale helps determine the influence of emotional contagion on various mental processes. For example, a recent study by the HSE International Laboratory of Social Neurobiology demonstrated how contagion impacts decision-making under the risk in different emotional states.

‘We have verified the previously received conclusions that in sadness, people are less inclined to take risk than in happiness: the updated data shows that this is true only for people with a low level of emotional contagion. In sadness people who are not likely to catch other people’s emotions are less likely to take risk,’ Vladimir Kosonogov commented.

Kosonogov assumes that this is because people who are more likely to be ‘contaminated’ with other people’s emotions understand others better and are consciously more careful. However, further studies are needed to test this hypothesis.

See also:

Workaholism Helps Young Narcissists Boost New Venture Performance

An international team of researchers including Professor Galina Shirokova, Director of the Strategic Entrepreneurship Centre at HSE University in St Petersburg, and her students Nailya Galieva and Diana Doktorova, examined the impact of narcissism on young entrepreneurs' success. The authors have demonstrated that a company founder's workaholism can amplify the influence of narcissism on a new venture's performance. 

Plurilingualism Compensates for Low Extraversion in Nurturing Creative Skills

Researchers at the HSE Laboratory for Linguistic, Intercultural, and Creative Competencies have examined the role of the Big Five personality traits in moderating the development of creativity among individuals who use multiple languages and have intercultural experiences. It has been found that acquiring multiple languages and engaging with diverse cultures can enhance an individual's creativity and compensate for some deficiencies in communicative abilities. That said, language practices are likely to foster creativity only in mentally stable individuals. The paper has been published in the International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism.

Attainment of Happiness in Psychologically Mature Individuals Linked to Pursuit of Meaning

Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl believed that the quest for meaning constitutes a fundamental and intrinsic motivation for all human beings. Some other authors suggest that the need for meaning or purpose only emerges at higher levels of personality development. According to a team of psychologists from HSE and the University of Paris Nanterre, individuals who have achieved higher levels of ego development are inclined to relinquish hedonistic motives in favour of cultivating mindfulness and embarking on a quest for meaning. These findings have been published in Frontiers in Psychology.

Married Men Less Prone to Workplace Burnout

Greater marital satisfaction lowers the risk of professional burnout, with this correlation being more pronounced among men than women. This is a conclusion made by HSE psychologists after conducting a study on the effect of social interactions on workplace burnout on a sample of 203 employees from several Russian companies. According to the researchers, gaining a better understanding of the specific aspects of burnout experienced by individuals makes it possible to address this syndrome more effectively. The paper has been published in Organizational Psychology.

HSE Psychologists Propose New Approach to Building Soft Skills

Researchers at HSE's School of Psychology have used the findings of studies into creativity and multilingualism to develop 'Plurilingual Intercultural Creative Keys’ (PICK), a new programme which integrates both aspects into the teaching and learning process. The study results have been published in Psychology. Journal of the Higher School of Economics.

Card File: Plurilingual Creativity

Fluency in foreign languages has multiple advantages in terms of cognitive abilities, communication skills, cultural awareness, and career advancement. But can bilingualism and plurilingualism (knowledge of multiple languages and related cultural contexts) contribute to creative thinking and one's ability to generate new ideas? Studies have shown that linguistic, intercultural and creative competencies are interrelated, and their synergy can give rise to plurilingual creativity. The following overview is based on several papers by Anatoly Kharkhurin, Director of the HSE Laboratory for Linguistic, Intercultural and Creative Competencies.

Readers Found to Rely on Word Spelling Rather Than Sound in Reading

Skilled readers are known to extract information not only from the word they are looking at but from the one directly following it. This phenomenon is called pre-processing. Researchers from the HSE Centre for Language and Brain analysed the eye movements of primary school children and adults during silent reading and found both groups to rely on orthographic, rather than phonological, information in pre-processing an upcoming word. The study has been published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

Psychological Intervention Reduced Stress during COVID Lockdown

Resilience and well-being in difficult times can be developed via online interventions in the workplace. An international team of researchers from France, the UK, and Russia (with the participation of researchers from the HSE International Laboratory of Positive Psychology of Personality and Motivation) studied the effectiveness of SPARK Resilience, a programme for developing resilience, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of the study were published in the PLOS One journal.

Light Breezes Improve Moods of Social Media Users

Sergey Smetanin, Research Fellow of the HSE Graduate School of Business, conducted a large-scale analysis to examine the impact of weather conditions on the sentiments expressed by users of the Odnoklassniki (OK) social network. The findings have been published in PeerJ Computer Science. This is the first study of its kind in Russia.

HSE Psychologists Examine Baby Duck Syndrome in Digital Interface Users

Researchers of the HSE Laboratory for Cognitive Psychology of Digital Interfaces Nadezhda Glebko and  Elena Gorbunova have examined the so-called ‘Baby Duck Syndrome’—the tendency among digital product users to prefer the the old version of an interface over a new one. The authors compare this phenomenon to similar cognitive biases such as the mere-exposure effect, the endowment effect, and the status quo bias. Their findings are published in Psikhologicheskie Issledovaniya [Psychological Studies].