Connecting With Others Through Shared Experiences: Differing Effects For Friends and Strangers

We examined differences in the effects of sharing an experience for friends and strangers. Findings indicate that friends and strangers both show greater synchrony in their moment-to-moment evaluations of the experience when they can observe each other’s body language and facial expressions but this effect is stronger for friends, who look at each other more frequently. We trace the emergence of coherence to processes of mimicry and emotional contagion by coding participants’ facial expressions and head movements for direct evidence of contagion. For strangers, greater synchrony in moment-to-moment evaluations was correlated with more positive retrospective evaluations but for friends, synchrony in moment-to-moment evaluations did not predict the summary judgment. By contrast, greater synchrony led to greater feelings of interpersonal rapport for friends but not strangers. Disruption in the ability to see each other’s reactions, however, lowered the evaluation of the experience for friends but not strangers.


Ann McGill and Suresh Ramanathan (2009) ,"Connecting With Others Through Shared Experiences: Differing Effects For Friends and Strangers", in AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8, eds. Sridhar Samu, Rajiv Vaidyanathan, and Dipankar Chakravarti, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 177-178.


Ann McGill, University of Chicago
Suresh Ramanathan, University of Chicago


AP - Asia-Pacific Advances in Consumer Research Volume 8 | 2009

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