Motivational orientation: manipulation through films of affective expression
In two studies we examined whether people can “catch” the motivations and emotions expressed by another person. In the Study 1, participants viewed three videos of an individual demonstrating fear, excitement, and neutral reactions while electromyography (EMG) was recorded. After each video, they completed a manikin task where they approached or avoided positive or negative pictures. Participants showed less corrugator activity—associated with negative emotional stimuli and negative mood state—after viewing the excitement video condition. Participants were faster to approach positive pictures after the excitement video than after the fear video. In contrast, participants were faster to approach negative pictures after the fear video than after the excitement video. In study two, participants watched the same videos and then rated their response to the positive and negative pictures used in Study 1. Here, we found that the videos consistently affected the participants to respond complimentary to the pictures.