Evolution of emotional contagion in group-living animals

Wataru Nakahashi*, Hisashi Ohtsuki


研究成果: Article査読

9 被引用数 (Scopus)


Emotional contagion refers to an instantaneous matching of an emotional state between a subject and an object. It is believed to form one of the bases of empathy and it causes consistent group behavior in many animals. However, how this emotional process relates to group size remains unclear. Individuals with the ability of emotional contagion can instantaneously copy the emotion of another group member and can take relevant behavior driven by this emotion, but this would entail both cost and benefit to them because the behavior can be either appropriate or inappropriate depending on the situation. For example, emotional contagion may help them escape from a predator but sometimes induce mass panic. We theoretically study how these two aspects of emotional contagion affect its evolution in group-living animals. We consider a situation where an environmental cue sometimes indicates a serious event and individuals have to make a decision whether to react to them. We show that, as the group size increases, individuals with the ability of emotional contagion would evolutionarily weaken their sensitivity to environmental cues. We also show that a larger group yields a larger benefit to them through such evolutionary change. However, larger group size prevents the invasion of mutants with the ability of emotional contagion into the population of residents who react to environmental cues independently of other group members. These results provide important suggestions on the evolutionary relationship between emotional contagion and group living.

ジャーナルJournal of Theoretical Biology
出版ステータスPublished - 2018 3月 7

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 統計学および確率
  • モデリングとシミュレーション
  • 生化学、遺伝学、分子生物学(全般)
  • 免疫学および微生物学(全般)
  • 農業および生物科学(全般)
  • 応用数学


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