Journal of Nonverbal Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 131–154 | Cite as

The Emotional Contagion Scale: A Measure of Individual Differences

  • R. William Doherty


Three studies (N = 1988) describe the development and validation of the Emotional Contagion (EC) Scale, a 15-item unidimensional measure of susceptibility to others' emotions resulting from afferent feedback generated by mimicry. Study 1 assesses the EC Scale's reliability (Cronbach's α = .90). Study 2 finds susceptibility (a) positively related to reactivity, emotionality, sensitivity to others, social functioning, self-esteem, and more associated with emotional than cognitive modes of empathy, (b) negatively related to alienation, self-assertiveness, and emotional stability and, (c) unrelated to masculinity and approval motivation. Study 3, an experiment, finds that EC Scale scores reliably predict biases in participants' evaluations and are correlated with a measure of responsiveness to afferent feedback and self-reports of emotional experience following exposure to emotional expressions.


Individual Difference Social Psychology Social Functioning Scale Score Emotional Expression 
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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. William Doherty
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of HawaiiManoa, Honolulu

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