It has been scientifically proved that coughing and yawning are contagious. The same applies to emotions, even the ones expressed via social media portals.

Can it really be the case that your friend’s gloomy post will make you feel down?

Check out: Study: Emotions on Facebook Are Contagious






  • dampen – make less strong or intense
  • weighty – having a great deal of influence on events or decisions
  • ripple – spread through a person, group, or place
  • volatility – liable to change rapidly and unpredictably, especially for the worse
  • mope – feel dejected and apathetic
  • vent – give free expression to (a strong emotion)


Think about it

Answer the questions below.

  • What is emotional contagion?
  • What did the scientists learn about the relation between rain and Facebook?
  • Why is the validity of the study conducted by James Fowler questionable?
  • What factors cause people to catch each other’s moods?
  • Do you think that emotions expressed online could “generate increased volatility in everything from political systems to financial markets?”


Practice makes perfect


Fill in the blank spaces with the missing words. Use ONE word per blank space.

Much of the reason that we ‘catch’ ________ other’s moods is because we see, ________ hand, the markers of an emotion (the grimace, the tears, the goofy grin). And, as social creatures, we replicate them. As compelling or detailed or graphic ________ a Facebook post may be, can it even ________ close to rivaling the immediacy or contagiousness of actual human emotion? Can it be ________ powerful?


What’s the difference between the usage of the word WHAT in the sentences below?

  • As we continue to engage with one another online, it seems natural that our mood would be affected by WHAT we see on Facebook [. . .]
  • WHAT have you been doing?

In which of the two sentences above the word WHAT can be replaced with the phrase “the thing(s) that?” In which it cannot? Why?


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