The Emotional Contagion Scale


Author of Tool: 

R. William Doherty

Key references: 

Doherty, R. W. (1997). The Emotional contagion scale: A measure of individual differences. Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, 21, pp. 131-154.

Primary use / Purpose: 

The Emotional Contagion Scale is a 15-item index that aims to measure individual differences in susceptibility to catching the emotions of other individuals. It examines mimetic tendency to five basic emotions (love, happiness, fear, anger, and sadness). The EC Scale is intended for use across a wide range of settings, samples, and studies. It can be quickly administered and scored within five minutes.


Emotional contagion describes a certain sensitivity to the emotions of others, and induces the individual to unintentionally ‘catch’ those emotions from mere exposure to others’ behaviour. The EC Scale provides a measure of emotional arousal, and the congruence of emotional stimulus and response. It represents an ideal measure to employ when the researcher attempts to use emotional expression as the independent variable.


Psychometric evaluation of the EC Scale is discussed in Doherty (1997).



Microsoft Office document iconEmotional Contagion Scale_Doherty

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