Sharing experiences can intensify emotions

Posted on October 9, 2014

New research suggests that enjoying an experience with another person results in more intense feelings about the encounter. In fact, psychological researchers discovered undergoing an experience with another person — even if we do it in silence, with someone we met just moments ago — seems to intensify that experience.

We often think that what matters in social life is being together with others, but research found that it also really matters what those people are doing. For example, when people are paying attention to the same pleasant thing, whether the Mona Lisa or a song on the radio, research shows that the experience is much more pleasurable. And the reverse is true of unpleasant experiences — not sharing them makes them more pleasurable, while sharing them makes them worse.

When people think of shared experience, what usually comes to mind is being with close others, such as friends or family, and talking with them. Research suggests that sharing an experience with someone else, even silently, may focus our attention, making us more attuned to what we are sensing and perceiving. We don’t realize the extent to which we are influenced by people around us whom we don’t know and aren’t even communicating with.

These findings may have significant implications for social life in a world that is filled with situations that cause distractions.

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Source material from Psych Central


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