Making sense of emotional contagion

  • Carme Isern-Mas University of the Balearic Islands
  • Antoni Gomila University of the Balearic Islands
Keywords: Emotional contagion, motor mimicry, imitation, automaticity, appraisal, component process model of emotion


Emotional contagion is a phenomenon that has attracted much interest in recent times. However, the main approach on offer, the mimicry theory, fails to properly account for its many facets. In particular, we focus on two shortcomings: the elicitation of emotional contagion is not context-independent, and there can be cases of emotional contagion without motor mimicry. We contend that a general theory of emotion elicitation (such as Scherer’s Component Process Model of Emotion) is better suited to account for these features, because of its multi-level appraisal component. From this standpoint, emotional contagion is viewed as a particular kind of emotional response that involves the same components and processes of emotional responses in general.

How to Cite
Isern-Mas, C., & Gomila, A. (2019). Making sense of emotional contagion. HUMANA.MENTE Journal of Philosophical Studies, 12(35), 71-100. Retrieved from