Ever find yourself laughing at a joke in a movie, simply because everyone else is?
New research from the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that the presence of other people may enhance an individual's movie-watching experience, EurekAlert! reported.
Over the course of the film, movie-watchers influence one another and gradually synchronize their emotional responses, the research suggests. This mutual mimicry also affects each participant’s evaluation of the overall experience — the more in sync we are with the people around us, the more we like the movie.
“When asked how much they had liked the film, participants reported higher ratings the more their assessments lined up with the other person,” explain Suresh Ramanathan and Ann L. McGill (both of the University of Chicago).
“By mimicking expressions, people catch each other’s moods leading to a shared emotional experience. That feels good to people and they attribute that good feeling to the quality of the movie.”