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.
The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (https://chi2021.acm.org/)