World Cup study shows group fervor stems from shared experiences

July 10, 2014 by Garriy Shteynberg

The 2014 World Cup has captured the attention of billions of viewers around the globe. New research from UT suggests that it is the shared attention that makes these games so emotionally compelling.

Assistant Professor Garriy Shteynberg and Associate Professor Jeff Larsen from the Department of Psychology conducted the study, which showed that are more intense when viewed simultaneously with other group members.

"Watching an event together with a group has a powerful impact on the way we process information," said Shteynberg, the study's lead author. "We tend to pay more and feel the experience more deeply, leading it to have a more lasting impact on us."

Across five studies, published in the journal Emotion, the researchers found that watching an event simultaneously with a group produced stronger emotional reactions than watching the same event alone, or watching it even a minute apart. Regardless of whether the initial event was a positive or negative one, these feelings were more intense when there was joint attention to the event.

"Group attention effectively intensified the emotional experiences of the study participants," the researchers said. "It made people happier in response to positive information and sadder in response to negative information."

The research suggests that will be heightened only when attending vents with others simultaneously.

"The effect of shared attention is only present when you are watching at the same time as others," Larsen said. "If you are watching after the fact, you don't get the same effects."

These shared emotional experiences also have effects on our behavior. For example, were more likely to donate money to a charity after jointly viewing a video about homelessness compared to watching it alone.

"Shared attention helps drive the excitement of a massive event like the World Cup," the researchers said. "We feel the events more intensely because we know that we are watching it with our fellow fans, regardless of where they are around the globe."

Explore further: Women anticipate negative experiences differently to men

Related Stories

New study suggests a better way to deal with bad memories

April 18, 2014

(Medical Xpress)—What's one of your worst memories? How did it make you feel? According to psychologists, remembering the emotions felt during a negative personal experience, such as how sad you were or how embarrassed ...

Study cracks how the brain processes emotions

July 9, 2014

Although feelings are personal and subjective, the human brain turns them into a standard code that objectively represents emotions across different senses, situations and even people, reports a new study by Cornell University ...

Recommended for you

Serious research into what makes us laugh

November 24, 2015

More complex jokes tend to be funnier but only up to a point, Oxford researchers have found. Jokes that are too complicated tend to lose the audience.

Psychologists dispute continuum theory of sexual orientation

November 19, 2015

Washington State University researchers have established a categorical distinction between people who are heterosexual and those who are not. By analyzing the reported sexual behavior, identity and attraction of more than ...

Babies have logical reasoning before age one, study finds

November 18, 2015

Human infants are capable of deductive problem solving as early as 10 months of age, a new study by psychologists at Emory University and Bucknell finds. The journal Developmental Science is publishing the research, showing ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.