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The Power of Contagion

The Power of Contagion One Life through Catherine Weser

One thing you might learn from the current experience of the coronavirus is the enormous power of contagion. In the financial industry, contagion is the spread of financial difficulties from one bank to another bank or from one market to another market, affecting the global financial system. Contagion is psychologically defined as the spread of a behavior pattern, attitude, belief, information, or emotion from one person to another.

You have all experienced emotional contagion, when your emotions mirror someone else’s. Think about how contagious crying and laughing can be. Someone crying can bring tears to your eyes, and someone laughing can infect you with laughter. This synchrony of emotions between people is important to personal relationships. The potential for contagious emotion is always present, and most of the time, it is unconscious.

There is also cognitive contagion, when the dissemination of information, knowledge, or beliefs occurs through sharing conscious or unconscious cognitive fields. And, of course, there is the contagion of physical disease, which has been powerfully illustrated with the coronavirus pandemic. Disease is probably the most common way you think about contagion.