Interpersonal emotional influence in performance dyad relationships

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

Performance dyads compete and work in intense situations which can stimulate a wide array of emotional experiences. Nevertheless, the interpersonal emotional considerations of these performing partnerships have yet to be investigated in the literature. The aim of this research programme was to establish the extent to which performing partners experience interpersonal emotional influence through emotional contagion or other similar influential processes. In addition, factors affecting these interpersonal processes were examined. This thesis consists of four studies which each contribute to expanding our understanding of the influential effect of performing partners’ emotional displays.
The first study (Chapter 2) was completed to develop, and initially validate, a brief emotion questionnaire that could be used in sporting contexts. A sample of both sport psychology experts and student athletes were used to create the 10-item emotion scale – the Brief In-Competition Emotion (BICE) Scale. Two further athlete cohorts were recruited in validation and feasibility assessments which presented evidence that the scale was effective at assessing athletes’ in-competition emotions.
The BICE scale was then used in Chapter 3 to investigate instances of within-dyad emotional aggregation for doubles table tennis pairs competing collaboratively. Evidence of within-dyad aggregation was identified for Happiness and Dejection at an in-competition time point and for Happiness, Dejection and Anger at a post-competition time point. These findings presented the first evidence to indicate that sporting dyads experience interpersonal emotional convergence whilst competing.
The next investigation (Chapter 4), a laboratory study, explored factors affecting the olfactory-facilitated emotional contagion process for collaborative partners completing tasks. Although evidence had been presented to indicate that emotions can be transferred between individuals via body odours, no research had previously identified individual differences which may affect this process. It was found that individual differences in the participants’ attitude regarding the importance of their sense of smell affected the within-dyad emotional aggregation process. As a result, a factor affecting the extent to which performing dyads experience emotional contagion was identified.
The final study (Chapter 5) was a qualitative exploration of the interpersonal emotional experiences of ambulance service pairs whilst working shifts together. Recorded interviews and voice diaries uncovered self-reported instances of the Emotions as Social Information Model processes (Affective Reactions and Inferential Processes). Following retroductive analysis methods, factors affecting these processes were identified. This is the first time that within-dyad interpersonal emotional influence has been identified in emergency services dyads.
In sum, the findings from this programme of research showed that performance dyads experience processes indicative of the interpersonal emotional influence described by the Emotions as Social Information model. These influential processes were identified in performance dyads across two performance domains: sport and the emergency services. Additionally, factors affecting the prevalence of these social emotional processes were presented, and can subsequently be used to ascertain individuals, pairs and contexts where interpersonal emotional influence may be present. Further implications of this programme of research and additional future research are outlined in the general discussion (Chapter 6).
Date of AwardDec 2021
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorLucy Akehurst (Supervisor), Lorenzo Stafford (Supervisor) & Chris Wagstaff (Supervisor)

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