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Michael Livingston, Psychology


Social networking sites have been growing in popularity over the last decade or so, and there have been many previous studies that have analyzed the possible consequences of these communication and interaction sites. Emotional contagion is the phenomenon of having one person’s emotions and behaviors directly trigger similar emotions or behaviors in other people. On social media, emotional contagion would mean that the emotions in the posts and content the viewer is exposed to are transferred to themselves without their knowledge. The purpose of this current experiment is to analyze how the exposure to positive affective pictures and messages on an Instagram feed could influence the people viewing them. I created a simple experiment with twenty participants total, 11 females and 9 males, that were separated into the experimental and control group through block randomization. My prediction was that the experimental group that is being exposed to the positive feed will have a higher positive affect score on the PANAS than the control group. My results found a strong effect size and significant p-value which supported my hypothesis as well as the research done previously on this topic.