Is it better when each person experiences a lot of positive affect individually? Or is it more important when each member of the group co-experiences positive affect?
In a recent study, published in 2021, researcher tried to answer this question. They hypothesized that “affect simultaneously co-experienced between individuals may have unique properties that cannot be captured at the individual or transactional level”.
So far, it remained unclear whether simultaneously co-experienced affect is more strongly related to relationship quality compared to when it is experienced individually. What they discovered is that, indeed, co-experienced affective moments are more important to the quality of relationships.
What does this mean for you and me?
How do we try to maintain the happiness levels of our teams? We often try to make each individual happy. Maybe via a bonus or any other INDIVIDUAL reward. This is meant to keep up morale within the person and also the team. Maybe it is time to invest more in co-experienced moments that can generate positive affect for all team members? If we want to have high performing teams, the quality of relationships within this team is a key factor.
Or what do we do to maintain a happy relationship? Maybe all too often we try to use gifts that can only be individually-experienced by our partner to keep them happy. In turn, we hope that this will spill-over to our relationship in general. How about creating more co-experienced moments? And this does not necessarily mean that we only need to share positive moments. Going one step toward your partner and empathise with him/her during a difficult situation can have lasting positive effects on relationship quality.
Let us experience more together than individually. We all will benefit from it.
2021 – Brown et al. – Shared Emotions in Shared Lives: Moments of Co-experienced Affect, More than Individually-experienced Affect, Linked to Relationship Quality
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