Anger, a Contagious Emotion

The recent ABC Televised debate between Senators Obama and Clinton was an excellent demonstration of how contagious anger can be when sensed, observed or felt by others. The two television Commentators who served as moderators for this debate exhibited anger and disrespect toward Sen. Obama. Their mean spirited questions regarding lapel pins worn or not worn, comments made by his pastor, his relationship with someone suspected of committing a crime when Obama was 8 years old, and his comments regarding the tendency for persons to  cling to their religious beliefs and guns during stressful times created counter anger in listeners all over the nation.

ABC News and the moderators were stunned by the volume of blog entries that were overwhelmingly angry and negative. According to Daniel Goleman, “When someone dumps their toxic feelings on us–explodes in anger or threats, shows disgust or contempt–they activate in us circuitry for those very same distressing emotions. Their act has potent neurological consequences: emotions are contagious. We “catch” strong emotions much as we do a rhinovirus–and so we can come down with the emotional equivalent of a cold”.

ABC and its staff may well consider Organizational Training in Civility/Anger Management.

George Anderson, MSW, BCD, CAMF, CEAP
Diplomate, American Association of Anger Management Providers
Anderson & Anderson®, The Trusted Name in Anger Management


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