Whenever we enter a human space we consciously and unconsciously tune into and are influenced by the emotions of others around us both positively and negatively. This inborn tendency to be emotionally “in synch” with the other humans around us is what psychological researchers call emotional contagion.
We respond instinctively to the emotional tone of those around us and all normal human beings are susceptible to emotional contagion to some degree.
Emotional contagion and Empathy
Emotional contagion in its most positive form is the basis of the human virtue of empathy. We need to be emotionally in tune with others in order to understand them, get along with them and to function effectively in the human social world.
Highly sensitive people’s finely detailed observational abilities make them more responsive than most to the nuances of other people’s feelings. This sometimes leads them to shy away from crowds since the mass of emotional messages is just too confusing. But even one-on-one relating can be emotionally challenging to a person who reads and responds strongly other’s subtle emotional cues.
Since HSP’s own emotional responses are intense, quick to arise and hard to shake off, they often find themselves getting caught up uncomfortably in other people’s feelings. Being attuned to the rawness of other people’s emotions and even taking them on through emotional contagion can be an unpleasant and aversive experience.
read the full article at: Highly Sensitive People and Emotional Contagion.