Measurement of emotional contagion using synchronization of heart rhythm pattern between two persons: Application to sales managers and sales force synchronization.


Dept. of Intelligent Engineering Informatics for Human, Sangmyung University, 7 Hongji-dong, Jongro-Ku, Seoul 110-743, Republic of Korea. Electronic address: [Email]


The purpose of this study was to measure emotional contagion, determine its direction, and compare the intensity between positive and negative contagion using the synchronization of heart rhythm pattern (HRP). A total of 64 undergraduate students (32 women and 32 men) participated in the experiment, and were randomly categorized as either leaders or followers. Followers were required to imitate the facial expression (happy and sad) of the leader (emotional contagion) or of a facial image (emotional non-contagion). We found that emotional contagion significantly increased the correlation coefficient between leaders and followers' HRP for both positive and negative emotions, but emotional non-contagion did not. There was no significant difference in leaders' HRP before and after contagion, while followers' HRP changed significantly. During emotional contagion, the correlation coefficient for negative emotion was significantly higher than for positive emotion. The proposed method could measure low or high emotional contagion and determine its direction quantitatively. In our application study, a sales manager (leader) transmitted a positive emotion to a sales employee (follower), and the groups are organized as HEC or LEC (high or low emotional contagion) groups by evaluating the intensity of emotional contagion based on HRP synchrony between them. HEC group's performance was enhanced compared to the LEC group.


Emotional contagion,Heart rhythm pattern,Sales marketing,Synchronization,Team performance,