BAPS 2020 Keynote Speaker
Collective responses to collective traumas: Synchronization and collective resilience
Bernard Rimé (1)
Our analysis of Twitter content from users in more than 20 nations in the weeks following the outbreak of the Covid-19 crisis reveals that members of these societies react with a profusion of exchanges in which they share their emotions, and in particular, anxiety and sadness. Such collective sharing of emotions conceals a complex process that performs important social, cognitive, and affective functions for individuals and groups. In this talk, we will review empirical evidence documenting these effects. We will first examine the dynamics of social sharing of emotions that develop in interpersonal situations. We will then show that a similar dynamic develops during collective gatherings that occur in case of a collective emotional event. Next, we will consider how the same process unfolds in a society where individuals are confined and thus unable to gather together. We will conclude by stressing that emotions are tools at the service of social integration and the update of shared knowledge. By fueling social synchronization, emotions assist individuals and groups in their ongoing efforts to develop, in the face of upcoming events, the best possible alignment of this knowledge.