People have a tendency to express and feel emotions that are similar to and influenced by the emotions of others—to automatically mimic and synchronize facial expressions, vocalizations, postures, and movements with those of another and, consequently, to converge emotionally. This phenomenon, known as emotional contagion, can be observed among mobs, in the workplace, in the classroom, and even at home. What physiological and psychological mechanisms may contribute to making moods contagious?
E. M. Forster
Back in the day
In 1917, a French munitions vessel carrying thousands of pounds of explosives collided with a Norwegian relief vessel in the port city of Halifax—capital of Nova Scotia, Canada, and a major wartime shipping point. The munitions ship caught fire and exploded a short time later with greater force than any man-made explosion before it, destroying the northern part of the city, killing some 1,800 people, and injuring about 9,000 more. What happened the next day that compounded the loss of life?
Born on a day like today
Gay-Lussac was a French chemist and physicist who showed that all gases expand by the same fraction of their volume for a given temperature increase—which led to the devising of a new temperature scale whose thermodynamic significance was later established by Lord Kelvin. By taking measurements from a balloon above 20,000 feet (6,000 m), he concluded that Earth's magnetic intensity and atmospheric composition were constant to that altitude. Gay-Lussac also helped to discover what element?