Research into how emotions change over time has revealed that negative emotions tend to fade to a greater extent over time compared to positive emotions, an effect known as the fading affect bias.
Talking to others is an important way in which this process can be enhanced: frequent social disclosure of past emotional events can help dissipate negative emotions and maintain positive emotions. The question is, how and why does talking help?
Kate will describe experimental research which demonstrates that the degree of responsiveness of the listener during social disclosure is pivotal in how the speaker feels afterwards. Further, merely responding to the speaker is not enough. This research provides preliminary evidence that there are particular types of listener responses which are associated with the speaker feeling less negative about unpleasant events, and more positive about pleasant events. Kate will discuss some of these listener responses and how we could potentially apply this research to help us be a ‘good listener’ in the real world.