Social Psychological and Personality Science vol:5 issue:5 pages:526-533
We examine the idea that it is beneficial for people to affiliate with others who are experiencing similar, relative to dissimilar, emotions. Pairs of participants waited together and then engaged in a laboratory stressor (i.e., giving a speech). We created an index of each pair’s emotional similarity using participants’ emotional states. We hypothesized that greater concordance of partners’ emotional states would be associated with a lower stress response. In addition, we test whether the potential benefits of emotional similarity are moderated by the degree to which individuals are threatened by the situation (e.g., their dispositional fear of public speaking). Thus, we also predicted that greater emotional similarity would be associated with a lower stress response primarily for participants who were threatened by the situation. Confirming our hypotheses, greater initial dyadic emotional similarity was associated with a reduced cortisol response and lower reported stress among participants who feared public speaking.