Emotional Contagion in Seduction and Socializing
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
A potent but under-discussed phenomenon in the fields of socializing and seduction is that of emotional contagion, the tendency for emotions between two or more people to converge.
Emotional contagion is the foundation of frame control, and is of vital importance too in creating sexual tension and social pressure, in remaining in command of yourself and others in high pressure situations, and in effectively leading women (and men, too).
You might say it's a case of "the person with the most solid and catchable emotions wins."
Todays article is the first of a two-part series on emotional transference, with two articles focused on:
How to transfer your emotions to others, and
How to protect yourself from others' negative emotional transfers
Done right, emotional transfer is an outstanding tool for creating
the emotions in women that you want them to feel, and improving their
experience, your experience, and the outcome of your interactions.
And while "emotional contagion" and "emotional transference" might sound at first like New Age-y touchy-feely mumbo jumbo, it is in fact hard science, and it all has to do with the fascinating little cells in your brain called "mirror neurons."
Yes, indeedy do.
I'm sure you've experienced this plenty of times yourself:
That time you were feeling great... until some dour friend of yours came along and dumped all his troubles on you, making you feel as awful as he did
That time you were down in the dumps, until somebody told you a few jokes and shared a funny story about something that happened to her recently and suddenly you were laughing and chatting as if you'd been fine all along
That time you went to the party feeling tired and drained, but after a short while around the other people there - even before the alcohol started kicking in - you were talking, dancing, flirting, and having a ball
"No man is an island," John Donne said.
He might just as well have said, "Man is a lake in the middle of a sea."
For things flow out of us, and things flow in.
How Emotional Contagion Works
“We define emotional contagion as the tendency to automatically mimic and synchronize expressions, vocalizations, postures, and movements with those of another person's and, consequently, to converge emotionally.”
That's an excerpt defining the subject from the paper "Emotional
Contagion", first published in Current
Directions in Psychological Science
in 1993 by Elaine Hatfield, John T. Cacioppo, and Richard L. Rapson.
While they note others as far back as Adam Smith in 1759 had proposed a
method of humans mimicking one anothers emotional displays, it was only
in the past 25 years or so that awareness of this phenomenon really
gained much traction.
I'd been aware of emotional contagion since I was a little boy growing up in the 1980s. I didn't know what it was or how it worked though... I just knew that it was very easy for me to make other people feel how I wanted them to feel. I just thought I had a "power."
And while it'd be presumptuous to rule out an extrasensory basis altogether - there still isn't any significant refutation of the positive findings of the large number of ongoing ganzfeld telepathy experiments, for instance - as it turns out, emotional contagion does not need the supernatural to be explained.
It exists courtesy a far more mundane explanation.
The way emotional contagion seems to work is that the brain analyzes the voices, facial expressions, and other nonverbal cues of other people, then mimics them. This mimicry - spurred on by the brain's "mirror neurons", a set of brain cells solely dedicated to making people feel what they observe other people feeling, to bring them emotionally in-sync - feeds back into the brain's emotion centers, causing mirroring not just externally - in one's own voice, expressions, and cues - but internally, as well - in what one actually feels.
Thus the term "emotional contagion" - as it turns out, smiles really are contagious... and misery does love company.
Power and Emotion
I'm going to share a study with you now that's first going to seem confusing and counterintuitive, but it's absolutely key to how we use emotional contagion in seductive and social situations, so bear with me.
Elaine Hatfield and three other researchers published an earlier study - in 1989 - in which emotional contagion was studied in conjunction with personal power. The study - titled "The effect of power on susceptibility to emotional contagion" - ran on the hypothesis that individuals in powerless positions (e.g., employee, student, inmate, etc.) would pay more attention to their superior's emotions and be more likely to "catch" those superiors' emotions, than superiors in positions of power (e.g., boss, teacher, police officer, politician, etc.) would be to theirs.
However... the study proved otherwise:
“This study explored two questions: Do people tend to display and experience other people's emotions? If so, what impact does power have on people's susceptibility to emotional contagion? We speculated that the powerless should pay more attention to their superiors (than their superiors pay to them) and should thus be especially likely to “catch” their superion' emotions as well. College students, given the role of “teacher” (powerful person) or “learner” (powerless person), observed videotapes of another (fictitious) subject relating an emotional experience. They were asked what emotions they felt as they watched their partner describe the happiest and saddest event in his life. In addition, they were videotaped as they watched the tape. As predicted, clear evidence of emotional contagion was obtained in this controlled laboratory setting. However, a direct (rather than inverse) relation between power and emotional contagion was found. Powerful subjects were more likely to display their subordinate's feelings than subordinates were to display those of the powerful other. Several possible explanations for these unexpected results were proposed.”
It is not the powerless who are most susceptible to emotional contagion. It is the powerful.
So how does this work?
To get our heads around emotional contagion's power dynamic, I'd like to ask you to think first of the person trapped in victim mentality.
The typical person with victim mentality:
Sees himself as the victim of more powerful superiors, who control the keys to him getting what he wants and needs or not
Views himself as oppressed or shortchanged by more powerful forces
Believes that the things he wants and needs are outside of his control; he is unable to direct his own life and destiny in some or all ways
In other words, someone who believes he is a victim of anyone / anything has placed himself into a subordinate role, mentally.
He is someone low in power.
And how easily swayed are people in the victim role?
Have you ever tried?
I have... countless times. It's a trap.
You cannot change someone's mind when he sees himself a victim... he will not listen to you. He won't entertain your views.
And, he is largely immune to your ability to impress emotions on him... particularly, good emotions.
An individual in the subordinate role is too worried about himself to spend much time caring what you are doing, thinking, or feeling.
As a subordinate, all he can think about is him.
What Being "Relatable" Really Is
You might even be able to say that a large part of what makes these so effective with women is that they allow a woman to feel more empowered and, thus, her circle of emotional awareness is able to expand, and allow her to more easily catch your emotions.
It seems to work like this:
A woman you haven't connected and/or with whom there is no powerful feeling of instant attraction with feels weird, awkward, or creeped out if you try moving things with her too fast or break out a strongly sexual vibe on her too early; the emotion she sees in you seems inappropriate to her, she feels cognitive dissonance, and she rebels against it
Alternately, a woman you have deep dived and thoroughly screened feels as though she has impressed you with her qualifications (she's empowered); a woman you have inspired feels as though she could take on the world, with your support (she's empowered); and a woman who sees you and instantly feels attracted to you is relating you to a man she's had highly positive experiences with in the past, and feels confident she can have them with you (again, she's empowered)
In each of the three scenarios where a woman is deep dived and screened and qualified, or inspired, or feels instant attraction upon seeing and meeting you, SHE FEELS EMPOWERED.
And, now empowered, she tunes into and mirrors back to you your emotions all the better.
You might even say that this is the crux of what "being relatable" is really all
about: it is, simply, making a woman feel empowered around you.
How to Use Emotional Contagion with Others
In most articles, this is where I'd put a list of 7 or 10 steps for you to follow to start using the technique du jour right away.
This time around, I've only got two for you:
If you need it spelled out a bit more in-depth, here it is:
Empower. Before that other person you're talking to is going to be open to catching your emotions, she must first feel POWERFUL. If she feels weak, subordinate, or off-balance, she will not catch your emotions. This probably comes as a bit of a surprise if you're used to standard seduction logic; but I thought you were supposed to be the dominant alpha male? you might say. And while you do want women following your lead and viewing you as a powerful individual, you also want them feeling like they are free to do what they want around you - something a student usually would not feel around a teacher, or an employee a boss. You want women to feel like they can let their hair down and pursue you as aggressively as they like - and that's about feeling powerful, not weak.
Emote. The next step - once she's feeling powerful - is getting her to feel, period. The emotions you want a woman to feel in a seduction are typically sexual excitement and anticipation. The emotions you want others to feel in other social situations can be anything from enamored to amazed to comfortable to warm to relaxed. All you have to do to make people feel these things is wear those emotions on your own face and body while making eye contact with them once they feel connected to you and empowered around you. At that point, they begin to easily catch what you emote.
The connecting / screening / qualifying / empowering you can do quite easily with these articles:
- The Art of the Deep Dive
- How to Build an
- Get to Know a Girl: Connection-Building Tactics
- What Does She Want? The 8 Things You Must Ask Her
- Student of the Game: How to Succeed with Women
- Is Qualifying Women Really That Important?
The emoting you can do with these:
- Sexual Tension: 7 Ways to Make Women Excited and Randy
- Constructing Your Sexy Vibe (and Making Girls Go Nuts)
- Sexy Body Language for Men (Learned from
- Nonverbal Attraction and Getting Girls
- Emotional Cresting: What It Is and How to Use It
- 7 Facial Expressions That Drive Women Wild
- The 9 Secrets to Being a
There's lots of material on this site on these two topics.
So It's Really About Empowering Other People?
Yes, it is.
The secret to being good at using emotional contagion - at transfering your emotions to other people - comes down to being adept at making people feel like they matter.
If you can communicate to other people that you believe they are important, and powerful, and can do anything they set out to do - and you can communicate this in as little as a look or a glance, sometimes - those people will be open to receiving emotions from you.
Because they feel powerful.
Because they feel secure.
Because they are able to expand their emotional awareness outside of themselves and take on the emotions of others.
When you empower first, and emote second, you can use this one-two punch to impress upon others the emotions which you have called up in yourself. And you can use this to scare up a bit more sexual tension and arousal with beautiful women; to convey a feeling of warmth with new acquaintances; to strike just the right tone of responsibility and ascendancy with prospective employers and your new girlfriend's family alike.
Emotional contagion is powerful mojo... and you can use it to make your interactions that much closer and more intimate.
Also: tune in tomorrow for part two of the series on emotional transference, and learn about the dark side of emotion transfer - a phenomenon known as "psychic vampirism." [UPDATE: here's the article: "Protecting Yourself from Psychic Vampires (and Not Turning, Either)"]
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