Purdue University Graduate School
The Role of Emotional Contagion in Risk Communication SMeier.pdf (974.77 kB)

The Role of Emotional Contagion in Risk Communication

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posted on 2023-04-25, 22:09 authored by Savannah Jane MeierSavannah Jane Meier


Historically, emotional contagion has been studied in a series of contexts, however, there is little to no research on how contagion impacts risk perceptions. This study attempted to bridge the gap between emotional contagion and risk perceptions, specifically focusing on amplification from the Social Amplification of Risk Framework (SARF). To test these potential relationships, I conducted a 2 × 3 experiment that tested the effects of emotional expressions (fear) and media richness on emotional contagion as well as effects on risk perceptions and sharing intentions. In addition, the effects of individual differences such as expressiveness, susceptibility, and individualistic/collectivistic cultural tendencies were examined. Results found no support for the occurrence of emotional contagion, although there were changes in negative emotions between the pretest and posttest which can be attributed to the description of the risk event used as stimulus (i.e., chemical leak). Effects between changes in negative emotions and risk perceptions emerged. In addition, findings show that collectivism and susceptibility also predicted changes in negative emotions. These findings suggest that multiple processes determine if and when people experience emotional change in response to risk events.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science


  • Communication

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Hwanseok Song

Additional Committee Member 2

Seungyoon Lee

Additional Committee Member 3

Jeremy Foote

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