Table of Contents
Emotional contagion is a phenomenon in which one’s emotions are transmitted among individuals unconsciously by observing others’ emotional expressions. In this paper, we propose a method for mediating people’s emotions by triggering emotional contagion through artificial bodily changes such as pseudo tears. We focused on shedding tears because of the link to several emotions besides sadness. In addition, it is expected that shedding tears would induce emotional contagion because it is observable by others. We designed an eyeglasses-style wearable device, Teardrop glasses, that release water drops near the wearer’s eyes. The drops flow down the cheeks and emulate real tears. The study revealed that artificial crying with pseudo tears increased sadness among both wearers and those observing them. Moreover, artificial crying attenuated happiness and positive feelings in observers. Our findings show that actual bodily changes are not necessary for inducing emotional contagion as artificial bodily changes are also sufficient.
Theories of Emotions #
The mechanism of how we feel emotions has been studied for a long time and various theories have been proposed and discussed throughout history. These theories of emotions share a similar notion that emotions are triggered by recognizing changes in one’s own body.
Moreover, the bodily changes of others also influence our minds. A phenomenon in which emotion is unconsciously and instantly transmitted among people is known as emotional contagion. This is caused by observing another person’s bodily changes or other emotional expressions, which are physical manifestations of one’s emotions.
Based on the theories of emotions, we came up with an idea to mediate the emotional experiences of multiple people by presenting the artificial bodily changes (pseudo tears in this work) in one person and letting others around him/her observe the artificial bodily changes.
Design of Teardrop Glasses #
We focused on shedding tears as a trigger of emotional contagion. Then, we developed a wearable device similar to eyeglasses called Teardrop glasses. This device places water drops near the inner corners of the user’s eyes, but not in the eyes owing to hygiene considerations. The water subsequently rolls down the wearer’s cheeks.
Shigeo Yoshida, Takuji Narumi, Tomohiro Tanikawa, Hideaki Kuzuoka, and Michitaka Hirose. 2021. Teardrop Glasses: Pseudo Tears Induce Sadness in You and Those Around You. In CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’21), May 8–13, 2021, Yokohama, Japan. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 14 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3411764.3445741
Yu Liang, Kazuma Shimokawa, Shigeo Yoshida, Eriko Sugimori. 2020. What “Tears” Remind Us of: An Investigation of Embodied Cognition and Schizotypal Personality Trait Using Pencil and Teardrop Glasses, Frontiers in Psychology, Vol.10, Jan. 2020. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02826
Awards and Honors #
The paper, presentation slides, and videos in this page can be used under the terms of Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0). https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
- Photo and Film: Akira Nomoto
- Music: Tomikazu Karl Saegusa
- Development Support: Takafumi Oyake and Kasumi Yajima.
We would like to thank Michiteru Kitazaki, Daisuke Sakamoto, and Takafumi Oyake for their insightful comments and discussions. We thank Toshihiko Fukushima for letting me know how to use Projet 3D printer and Keiko Fujii for opening the shared workshop when I didn’t have the key to open the workshop. This work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP14J09015 and JP16K12471.