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Emotional Contagion Effects on Product Attitudes


  • Howard, Daniel J
  • Gengler, Charles


Two experiments examine the existence of, and explanation for, emotional contagion effects on product attitudes. In the first experiment, emotional contagion occurred among "receivers" who "caught" a happy emotion from "senders" whom the receivers liked. The relationship between the emotion experienced by senders and receivers was found to be mediated by receivers mimicking smiling on the part of senders. Exposing receivers to happy senders they liked also resulted in receivers having a positive attitudinal bias toward a product. The happiness experienced by receivers via contagion was found to mediate the effects of sender emotion and receiver liking of the sender on receiver product attitudes. The second experiment replicated the first while demonstrating that observation of the facial expressions of senders by receivers, thus allowing mimicking of smiling, was a necessary condition for emotional contagion to occur. The relevance of emotional contagion for understanding consumer behavior across various substantive domains is discussed. Copyright 2001 by the University of Chicago.

Suggested Citation

  • Howard, Daniel J & Gengler, Charles, 2001. " Emotional Contagion Effects on Product Attitudes," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(2), pages 189-201, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:jconrs:v:28:y:2001:i:2:p:189-201

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    10. Kim, Junyong & Gupta, Pranjal, 2012. "Emotional expressions in online user reviews: How they influence consumers' product evaluations," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 65(7), pages 985-992.
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    13. Qiuzhen Wang & Zhengmin Xu & Xiling Cui & Lei Wang & Chang Ouyang, 0. "Does a big Duchenne smile really matter on e-commerce websites? An eye-tracking study in China," Electronic Commerce Research, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-18.
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    16. Malhotra, Naresh K., 2005. "Attitude and affect: new frontiers of research in the 21st century," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 58(4), pages 477-482, April.

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