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# Contagion: A Theoretical and Empirical Review and Reconceptualization

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## Abstract

We have reviewed theories and research in the area of contagion with an emphasis on definitions of contagion. The review shows that a great deal of the confusion surrounding the term is due to the fact that the phenomena involved in contagion are extremely heterogeneous, yet they typically have been placed under homogeneous rubrics. Accordingly, we propose herein that contagion should be conceptualized as a general type, social contagion, and three subtypes: disinhibitory, echo, and hysterical. In this article, we have distinguished social contagion and its subtypes from other types of social influence phenomena and reclassified theoretical and research articles under the newly proposed definitions. The proposed reconceptualization shows how contradictions in the literature can be resolved by distinguishing the type of contagion in question and provides the foundation for a more comprehensive and useful psychology of contagion.
... Examples include the system to track employees' check-in and check-out when arriving or leaving the workplace and specific methods of classroom management. The theory of inhibitory contagion also implies that the core of conformity is to "ease the feeling of being constrained" (Levy and Nail, 1993). When faculty members are constrained by a formalized organizational structure, they conform to the regulations and comply with the decision of those formulating the regulations, thus reducing the likelihood of "feeling constrained" and generating a contagious mechanism of faculty conformity (Jiaqi and Jianfeng, 2019). ...
... Specifically, in conflict management style, as individuals interact constantly with the group, formalization of organizational structure will more likely produce conformity. Levy and Nail (1993) emphasize that conformity is the result of group-individual interactions. ...
... Individual factors are important in predicting conformity (Ferguson, 2006), as it entails diffusion of attitudes or behaviors and leads to social impact and transmission of information or behaviors in this process (Levy and Nail, 1993). Identification is an attitude, or an internal process that maintains relationships with the group or intervenes in an individual's attitudes (Wu et al., 2022). ...
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Based on social contagion theory, this study examines the mediating role of formalization of organizational structure between organizational identification and faculty conformity. It also analyzes the moderating role of conflict management style between organizational identification and faculty conformity, and formalization of organizational structure and faculty conformity in universities in Hunan province, China. Convenience sampling was employed to select the subjects, and 1,024 Chinese faculty members including teaching staff and administrative staff were surveyed online with the questionnaire consist of organizational identification scale, organizational formalization scale, conflict management style scale, and faculty conformity scale. 1,000 valid respondents were collected and SPSS was used to analyze the data through descriptive analysis, analysis of variance, correlation analysis, and hierarchical multiple regression. The results showed that faculty members’ organizational identification had a positive effect on faculty conformity; formalization of organizational structure partially mediated the relationship between organizational identification and faculty conformity; and conflict management style positively moderated the relationship between organizational identification and faculty conformity and between formalization of organizational structure and faculty conformity. University administrators are often the initiators of conformity as they are responsible for formulating internal regulations. Therefore, they must monitor and coordinate workplace conflicts, resolve and guide faculty conformity, promote individual faculty members’ self-improvement, and foster steady organizational development.
... The social ecology of the classroom consists of interpersonal interactions and phenomenological experiences that shape youth's beliefs about their teachers, school setting, and at-large social and educational macrosystems (Rudasill et al., 2018). According to social contagion theory (Christakis & Fowler, 2013;Levy & Nail, 1993), affect, beliefs, and behaviors can spread from one person to another within a shared social space. Correlational studies following secondary school students over the course of a school year have illustrated contagion effects whereby an individual student's current level of classroom engagement was predicted by their classmates' prior engagement (Mendoza & King, 2020). ...
... SCHOOL DISCIPLINE SPILLOVER EFFECT yet, the chronic absenteeism literature does little to explain the mechanisms through which one student's behavior affects another. To explain, we turn to the literature on social contagion (Christakis & Fowler, 2013;Levy & Nail, 1993). Social contagion is a phenomenon through which affect, beliefs, and behaviors can be spread among a social network-such as a classroom-through frequent interpersonal interactions (Lam et al., 2014) and processes of observational learning (e.g., mimicry; Chartrand & Lakin, 2013;Hatfield et al., 2013). ...
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... Other researchers paid attention to the psychological mechanisms of how social support positively impacts exercise behavior [39,40] . For example, McAuley, Jerome, Elavsky, Marquez and Ramsey [39] demonstrated that self-efficacy plays the mediating role between social support and exercise [41] . ...
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Due to the importance of employees’ physical well-being, organizations have long been conducting wellness programs to motivate their employees to exercise. The wide use of wearable devices (e.g. smart bands and smartphones) and fitness applications (e.g., fitness mobile applications) enable organizations to shift from offline to online fitness programs where participants use physical activity records tracked by wearable devices to complete fitness tasks and challenges. To better motivate employees’ exercise behavior, online fitness programs widely offer monetary or social incentives strategies. However, little is known about the interaction effects of the two types of incentives when they are jointly offered. Besides, practitioners lack knowledge of how to set an optimal fitness challenge for the incentives in online fitness programs. In this study, we obtained a rich panel dataset from a university-wide online fitness program, which includes the daily exercise records of 2578 participants during a 100-day period, to empirically investigate the joint effects of monetary and social incentives on individuals’ exercise behavior. Most interestingly, we found that there is a crowd-out effect between monetary and social incentives—the influences of social incentives (i.e., social support and social contagion) are relatively weaker when there exists an unachieved monetary goal; once the monetary goal has been achieved, the influences of social incentives become stronger. In addition, we found that participants’ exercise behavior can be maximized when the dynamic goal is set at an optimal level. Our findings can help practitioners better design the online fitness programs and the associated fitness technologies.
... A variety of learning theories have been proposed to account for resistance to change at the individual level, to include extensions of behavioral momentum theory which posit an interplay between a behavioral mass (weight of learned experience) and the strength of reinforcement schedules [32]. Extending these insights to collectives is in its early days but can profitably be related to social cognition [33] and social contagion [34]. There have been a number of empirical case studies drawing on this learning literature exploring conditions favoring stasis versus change. ...
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Institutions have been described as ‘the humanly devised constraints that structure political, economic, and social interactions.’ This broad definition of institutions spans social norms, laws, companies, and even scientific theories. We describe a non-equilibrium, multi-scale learning framework supporting institutional quasi-stationarity, periodicity, and switching. Individuals collectively construct ledgers constituting institutions. Agents read only a part of the ledger–positive and negative opinions of an institution—its “public position” whose value biases one agent’s preferences over those of rivals. These positions encode collective perception and action relating to laws, the power of parties in political office, and advocacy for scientific theories. We consider a diversity of complex temporal phenomena in the history of social and research culture (e.g. scientific revolutions) and provide a new explanation for ubiquitous cultural resistance to change and novelty–a systemic endowment effect through hysteresis.
Article
In this paper a second-order adaptive network model is introduced for presenting a user with content they like on a platform. The platform's method is using its so-called fake state. Simulation results have been performed with different scenarios for different starting values of the user and the platform. In all scenarios the platform's method can move towards the state of the user in order to achieve a form of bonding through faked homophily. After the user indeed connects to the platform it becomes more easy for the platform to move the user's preferences in a desired direction so that the platform can offer more adequate content more efficiently.
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Suicide rates continue to increase globally. The volume of research in this field has also expanded rapidly. In A Concise Guide to Understanding Suicide, leading researchers and clinicians provide a concise review of recent literature, report solutions achieved and give practical guidance for patient care to aid understanding and help prevent suicide. Each chapter is highly focused to provide pertinent information covering all major aspects of the field, from epidemiology and theories of causation through to treatment and prevention. This text will educate practising clinicians (psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, counsellors, and emergency room personnel) and other health care workers and researchers, as well as providing a pathway for undergraduate and graduate students interested in furthering their understanding of the complexities surrounding suicide. Further, mental health professionals and those in the social sciences will be extremely interested in this monograph, as will the University community, armed forces and interested lay public.
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This entry provides an overview of the concept of social contagion, including attention given to both emotional and behavioral forms of contagion. The history of social contagion processes and the various definitions are discussed, as are forms of contagion, including fads and the clustering of both violent and self-injurious behaviors. Also considered is an analysis of the related group processes that influence contagion. Finally, the implications of contagion processes for mental health are discussed as a means of preventing contagious clusters of suicide, eating disorders, instances of violence, and self-harm.
Article
A simplicial complex is $r$-conic if every subcomplex of at most $r$ vertices is contained in the star of a vertex. A $4$-conic complex is simply connected. We prove that an $8$-conic complex is $2$-connected. In general a $(2n+1)$-conic complex need not be $n$-connected but a $5^n$-conic complex is $n$-connected. This extends results by Even-Zohar, Farber, and Mead on ample complexes and answers two questions raised in their paper. Our results together with theirs imply that the probability of a complex being $n$-connected tends to $1$ as the number of vertices tends to $\infty$. Our model here is the medial regime.
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Online co-creation activities can at times backfire for a firm. Instead of strengthening the relationship between a firm and its consumers, consumers mock the activity and make meaningless, insinuating, or otherwise destructive contributions. This is problematic not only because the initiative does not achieve its intended purpose, but because destructive behavior often seems to inspire followers who copy the behavior or cheer it on. In this paper we examine ways in which firms can potentially protect themselves against such contagious negative behavior. We argue that when online co-creation activities allow consumers considerable freedom of expression, this helps them to feel a sense of empowerment, making it less likely that they will join in when they see other contributors engaging in deviant or destructive behavior. The two studies we conducted to test this hypothesis provided evidence to support this rationale. Their findings are relevant for customer engagement research as well as for online content managers. Perceptions of empowerment are identified as being a key factor in determining how consumers engage online, and are shown to be particularly important in online co-creation activities.
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