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Human emotions are highly contagious. Seeing others' emotional expressions such as smiles triggers often the corresponding emotional response in the observer. Such synchronization of emotional states across individuals may support social interaction: When all group members share a common emotional state, their brains and bodies process the environment in a similar fashion.
ScienceDaily (May 2, 2012) — The brain's neurons are coupled together into vast and complex networks called circuits. Yet despite their complexity, these circuits are capable of displaying striking examples of collective behavior such as the phenomenon known as "neuronal avalanches," brief bursts of activity in a group of interconnected neurons that set off a cascade of increasing excitation.
A neuronal avalanche is a cascade of bursts of activity in neuronal networks whose size distribution can be approximated by a power law, as in critical sandpile models (Bak et al. 1987). Neuronal avalanches are seen in cultured and acute cortical slices (Beggs and Plenz, 2003; 2004). Activity in these slices of neocortex is characterized by brief bursts lasting tens of milliseconds, separated by periods of quiescence lasting several seconds. When observed with a multielectrode array, the number of electrodes driven over threshold during a burst is distributed approximately like a power law. Although this phenomenon is highly robust and reproducible, its relation to physiological processes in the intact brain is currently not known.
Originally posted by Alxandro
Emotion and logic are at the opposite ends of the spectrum and as more and more people join the emotional collective only means that more and more people are no longer able to think logically.
Originally posted by MESSAGEFROMTHESTARS
reply to post by TheProphetMark
Also, it is awesome that you bring up the idea of yawning, and loosely correlate it with empathy...
Just thought I'd toss this in here, to back up what you said...
FMRI was used in an event related design to examine healthy subjects while they regarded happy, sad, or neutral faces and were instructed to simultaneously move the corners of their mouths either (a). upwards or (b). downwards, or (c). to refrain from movement. The subjects' facial movements were recorded with an MR-compatible video camera.