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Emotion. 2011 Apr;11(2):286-98. doi: 10.1037/a0022582.

Convergent and divergent responses to emotional displays of ingroup and outgroup.

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Department of Social Psychology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


In the present research, we test the assumption that emotional mimicry and contagion are moderated by group membership. We report two studies using facial electromyography (EMG; Study 1), Facial Action Coding System (FACS; Study 2), and self-reported emotions (Study 2) as dependent measures. As predicted, both studies show that ingroup anger and fear displays were mimicked to a greater extent than outgroup displays of these emotions. The self-report data in Study 2 further showed specific divergent reactions to outgroup anger and fear displays. Outgroup anger evoked fear, and outgroup fear evoked aversion. Interestingly, mimicry increased liking for ingroup models but not for outgroup models. The findings are discussed in terms of the social functions of emotions in group contexts. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2011 APA, all rights reserved).

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