Emotional reactions to dynamic morphed facial expressions: A new method to induce emotional contagion

  • Monika Wróbel University of Lodz, Institute of Psychology
  • Michał Olszanowski SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities in Warsaw
Keywords: emotional contagion; basic emotions; facial expressions of emotion; emotion-eliciting stimuli; morphing


In the current study, we tested the utility of a new method developed to study emotional contagion (i.e., the transfer of emotional states between people). Inspired by studies on emotional mimicry – a process that has been postulated as one of the main mechanisms leading to emotional contagion, we created a set of videos showing morphed facial expressions of happiness, sadness, and anger. Following exposure to each video, participants rated their emotions. Our findings demonstrated that the videos evoked congruent emotions in viewers, thereby supporting the notion that dynamic morphed facial expressions may be effective “emotionally contagious” stimuli. Additionally, in line with the previous studies and classic theories of emotional contagion, the displays of anger evoked a complementary reaction of fear.


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