Volume 22, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Previous experimental findings support the hypothesis that laughter and positive emotions are contagious in face-to-face and mediated communication. To test this hypothesis, we describe four experiments in which participants communicate via a chat tool that artificially adds or removes laughter (e.g. or ), without participants being aware of the manipulation. We found no evidence to support the contagion hypothesis. However, artificially exposing participants to more s decreased participants’ use of s but led to more involvement and improved task-performance. Similarly, artificially exposing participants to more s decreased use of but increased lexical alignment. We conclude that, even though the interventions have effects on coordination, they are incompatible with contagion as a primary explanatory mechanism. Instead, these results point to an interpretation that involves a more sophisticated view of dialogue mechanisms along the lines of Conversational Analysis and similar frameworks and we suggest directions for future research.


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