Consequences of socially sharing emotions: testing the emotion-response congruency hypothesis



We test the emotion-response congruency hypothesis, which predicts that the consequences of socially sharing one's negative emotions depend on the congruency between the shared emotion and the response that is obtained from the interaction partner. Experiment 1a shows that the response that people prefer is dependent on the specific emotion shared. Experiment 1b, however, reveals that the responses that interaction partners provide do not differ across emotions. Yet, and crucially, Experiment 2 shows that the outcomes of sharing are affected by the congruency between the response that people receive and the emotion they share, thus supporting the emotion-response congruency hypothesis. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.