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The world’s greatest expert on canned TV laugh tracks helps Dr. Laurie Santos demonstrate how the emotions of those around us can make us feel happier or more sad. If happiness is so contagious… can we do more to bring joy to ourselves and our loved ones?

To learn more. . .

Links to references from this episode. . . 

“The Jack Benny Show was the only program President John F. Kennedy would watch religiously.”

Baughman, J. L. “Nice Guys Last Fifteen Seasons: Jack Benny on Television, 1950-1965.” Film & History: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Film and Television Studies, vol. 30 no. 2, 2000, p. 29-40. Project MUSE.

“This is Ben Glenn.”

Sack, M. (2010). Canned Laughter: Ben Glenn II, Television Historian. The Paris Review. July 20, 2010.

“In one study by Tanya Chartrand and colleagues, subjects were brought into the lab and told they needed to work with another person to describe a set of magazine photographs.”

Chartrand, T. L., & Bargh, J. A. (1999). The chameleon effect: the perception–behavior link and social interaction. Journal of personality and social psychology, 76(6), 893.

“Researchers have long realized that there’s a tight link between behaving in a certain way and feeling a certain way.”

Hatfield, E., Cacioppo, J. T., & Rapson, R. L. (1993). Emotional contagion. Current directions in psychological science, 2(3), 96-100.

“Chartrand showed this in an unusual experiment.”

Neal, D. T., & Chartrand, T. L. (2011). Embodied emotion perception: amplifying and dampening facial feedback modulates emotion perception accuracy. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2(6), 673-678.

“Jeff’s research showed that participants pick up other people’s emotions through text— in say, a quick email note or an online comment— just as easily as they do in face-to-face real world interaction.”

Hancock, J. T., Landrigan, C., & Silver, C. (2007, April). Expressing emotion in text-based communication. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems (pp. 929-932). ACM.

“The social media giant allowed Jeff to run an experiment to figure out the emotional impact of Facebook posts.”

Kramer, A. D., Guillory, J. E., & Hancock, J. T. (2014). Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(24), 8788-8790.

“Sigal tested whether the contagion led to bad workplace outcomes.”

Barsade, S. G. (2002). The ripple effect: Emotional contagion and its influence on group behavior. Administrative science quarterly, 47(4), 644-675.

“Sigal’s study has now been replicated in a number of experimental and field settings.”

Barsade, S. G., Coutifaris, C. G., & Pillemer, J. (2018). Emotional contagion in organizational life. Research in Organizational Behavior.

The Host

Dr. Laurie Santos

Dr. Laurie Santos is Professor of Psychology and Head of Silliman College at Yale University. Professor and podcast host Dr. Laurie Santos is an expert on human cognition and the…