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Engaging the Surveillance System: Cognitive, Emotional, and Physiological Responses to Inappropriate Leader Displays
Unformatted Document Text:  Leader Displays 5 and experiential factors may evoke counterempathic responses, as when a sadistic smile by an authority figure signals punishment for a subordinate, who then reacts with an agonic expression and feeling of fear. Counterempathic responses may also be evoked when expressive displays are paired with a reward or punishment, as Lanzetta and colleagues (Englis, Vaughan, & Lanzetta, 1982; Lanzetta & Englis, 1989) demonstrated in a series of conditioning experiments. In one study (Englis, Vaughan, & Lanzetta, 1982), subjects were led to believe they would either be engaging in a competitive or cooperative interaction with the person being observed on a videotape. The video showed the model either smiling in response to receiving a “reward” or grimacing in response to getting an “electric shock.” In the cooperative condition, observers responded with congruent, or empathic, displays. However, the competitive condition evoked counterempathic responses; observed smiles led to grimaces and autonomic activation on the part of the observer, while observed grimaces led to smiles and autonomic relaxation. As the conditioning research shows, contextual factors that influence how a given observer will respond to a particular emotional display, such as anticipated competition or cooperation, may include expectations observers have about social interactions. Levenson (1996) classifies congruent responses as a type of emotional contagion that occurs more or less automatically, while reserving the term emotional reaction for affective responses that are more intentionally manifested and not necessarily congruent. While some contagion responses may be elicited automatically, others may be the end result of a deliberative process, depending on whether the observer is smiling (or frowning) involuntarily with or intentionally at the person observed. Deliberative processes are more clearly implicated in counterempathic responses when there is a discordance

Authors: Bucy, Erik. and Bradley, Samuel.
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Leader Displays 5
and experiential factors may evoke counterempathic responses, as when a sadistic smile
by an authority figure signals punishment for a subordinate, who then reacts with an
agonic expression and feeling of fear. Counterempathic responses may also be evoked
when expressive displays are paired with a reward or punishment, as Lanzetta and
colleagues (Englis, Vaughan, & Lanzetta, 1982; Lanzetta & Englis, 1989) demonstrated
in a series of conditioning experiments. In one study (Englis, Vaughan, & Lanzetta,
1982), subjects were led to believe they would either be engaging in a competitive or
cooperative interaction with the person being observed on a videotape. The video showed
the model either smiling in response to receiving a “reward” or grimacing in response to
getting an “electric shock.” In the cooperative condition, observers responded with
congruent, or empathic, displays. However, the competitive condition evoked
counterempathic responses; observed smiles led to grimaces and autonomic activation on
the part of the observer, while observed grimaces led to smiles and autonomic relaxation.
As the conditioning research shows, contextual factors that influence how a given
observer will respond to a particular emotional display, such as anticipated competition or
cooperation, may include expectations observers have about social interactions. Levenson
(1996) classifies congruent responses as a type of emotional contagion that occurs more
or less automatically, while reserving the term emotional reaction for affective responses
that are more intentionally manifested and not necessarily congruent. While some
contagion responses may be elicited automatically, others may be the end result of a
deliberative process, depending on whether the observer is smiling (or frowning)
involuntarily with or intentionally at the person observed. Deliberative processes are
more clearly implicated in counterempathic responses when there is a discordance


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