Emotional contagion or How your partner’s dissatisfaction will affect your life


In a rather hotly debated study from 2014, researchers found that if Facebook users were “presented” with more positive posts for a period of time, their own posts also became more positive in the future.

It was the same with negative opinions. As experts report for Psychology Today, this is the so-called “emotional contagion”.

Which period of life is the happiest, at least according to scientists

They conducted two studies in which they examined what happens in more detail in relationships where one partner is generally more satisfied with life than the other. If those who were happier will adapt more and will therefore be less happy, or on the contrary, those who were less satisfied will adapt faster and more and as a result they will also be more satisfied over time.

Fragile happiness

In the first study, experts found that couples “started” their lives together with smaller differences in general happiness. On average, it was about 1 point in a ten-point evaluation.

Over time, however, the differences decreased even more, mainly due to the fact that the happier of the partners became less satisfied over time. Negative emotions spread much more often than the other way around.

In the second study, they focused on changes in positive and negative emotions, as well as their own self-esteem over time. The latter confirmed similar results to the first study, i.e. that happier partners reported worse results over time.

As the years went by, positive emotions decreased, negative ones increased, and much lower self-esteem was also found. Again, there was minimal evidence that dissatisfied partners felt significantly better over the years.

Is bad stronger than good?

The results of the mentioned two studies are consistent with the idea of ​​emotional contagion. In other words, our own emotions are largely shaped by the emotions of the people around us. But why is the greatest influence seen only in negative emotions?

One possible explanation is that people are generally much more sensitive to negative things than positive things, as the title of the 2001 article – Bad Is Stronger Than Good – after all, outlines.


How much do the negative emotions of others affect you?

Very, I have a big problem with it.

Not really, it depends on the specific case.

I don’t let the negative emotions of other people sway me at all.

A total of 518 readers voted.

According to the authors, it is much more likely that, for example, the loss of a certain amount of money (even a very small one) will have a much greater impact on us than if we, on the other hand, gained the same amount.

An interaction with a negative person thus has a stronger impact on one’s well-being than an interaction with a positive person.

A lengthy process

Studies suggest, somewhat less optimistically, how everyday experiences shape our well-being. On the positive side, however, the effects observed in this survey did not come “overnight.” The decrease of one point in the ranking of “life satisfaction” occurred after 16 long years.

Thus, it remains possible to optimistically expect that even if you have a “grumpier” partner next to you, it will only affect your attitude after a longer period of time.

Enjoy life as it is. Don’t try to be perfect

Creative activities that will make you happier

The article is in Czech

Tags: Emotional contagion partners dissatisfaction affect life


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