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      Anxiety Talking: Does Anxiety Predict Sharing Information About COVID-19?


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          Could anxiety during the early stages of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic be linked to greater information sharing about viral threats? To explore whether anxiety may serve as a unique emotional indicator of sharing information in response to COVID-19, we used a representative sample of the United States from the American Trends Panel ( N = 9,110) conducted April 20th–26th, 2020. Participants reported how they felt in the past week, where they got COVID-19 news from, and whether they had posted COVID-19 news on social media or discussed the pandemic with others. Controlling for other emotions, news sources, and demographic measures, people who felt more anxious were more likely to share information about the coronavirus pandemic on social media and to discuss the pandemic with others, in-person, and online. These findings are consistent with functionalist theories of emotion, which postulate that fear plays a unique role in communication about threats.

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          Mental health problems and social media exposure during COVID-19 outbreak

          Huge citizens expose to social media during a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbroke in Wuhan, China. We assess the prevalence of mental health problems and examine their association with social media exposure. A cross-sectional study among Chinese citizens aged≥18 years old was conducted during Jan 31 to Feb 2, 2020. Online survey was used to do rapid assessment. Total of 4872 participants from 31 provinces and autonomous regions were involved in the current study. Besides demographics and social media exposure (SME), depression was assessed by The Chinese version of WHO-Five Well-Being Index (WHO-5) and anxiety was assessed by Chinese version of generalized anxiety disorder scale (GAD-7). multivariable logistic regressions were used to identify associations between social media exposure with mental health problems after controlling for covariates. The prevalence of depression, anxiety and combination of depression and anxiety (CDA) was 48.3% (95%CI: 46.9%-49.7%), 22.6% (95%CI: 21.4%-23.8%) and 19.4% (95%CI: 18.3%-20.6%) during COVID-19 outbroke in Wuhan, China. More than 80% (95%CI:80.9%-83.1%) of participants reported frequently exposed to social media. After controlling for covariates, frequently SME was positively associated with high odds of anxiety (OR = 1.72, 95%CI: 1.31–2.26) and CDA (OR = 1.91, 95%CI: 1.52–2.41) compared with less SME. Our findings show there are high prevalence of mental health problems, which positively associated with frequently SME during the COVID-19 outbreak. These findings implicated the government need pay more attention to mental health problems, especially depression and anxiety among general population and combating with “infodemic” while combating during public health emergency.
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            Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks.

            Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness. Emotional contagion is well established in laboratory experiments, with people transferring positive and negative emotions to others. Data from a large real-world social network, collected over a 20-y period suggests that longer-lasting moods (e.g., depression, happiness) can be transferred through networks [Fowler JH, Christakis NA (2008) BMJ 337:a2338], although the results are controversial. In an experiment with people who use Facebook, we test whether emotional contagion occurs outside of in-person interaction between individuals by reducing the amount of emotional content in the News Feed. When positive expressions were reduced, people produced fewer positive posts and more negative posts; when negative expressions were reduced, the opposite pattern occurred. These results indicate that emotions expressed by others on Facebook influence our own emotions, constituting experimental evidence for massive-scale contagion via social networks. This work also suggests that, in contrast to prevailing assumptions, in-person interaction and nonverbal cues are not strictly necessary for emotional contagion, and that the observation of others' positive experiences constitutes a positive experience for people.
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              Evaluating Effect Size in Psychological Research: Sense and Nonsense


                Author and article information

                Technology, Mind, and Behavior
                American Psychological Association
                December 30, 2021
                : 2
                : 4
                [1]Department of Psychology, Wesleyan University
                [2]Department of Psychology, Georgetown University
                Author notes
                Action Editor: Nick Bowman was the action editor for this article.
                Acknowledgments: This publication was made possible by support from the Wesleyan University Department of Psychology’s Feldman Fund.
                Disclosures: We have no known conflicts of interest to disclose.
                Competing Interests: We have no competing interests to disclose.
                Author Contributions: Ori Cantwell and Kostadin Kushlev contributed to conception and design. Ori Cantwell contributed to acquisition of data. Ori Cantwell, Kostadin Kushlev contributed to analysis and interpretation of data. Ori Cantwell, Kostadin Kushlev drafted and/or revised the article. Ori Cantwell, Kostadin Kushlev approved the submitted version for publication.
                Data Availability: All the survey methodology and questionnaires can be found on this paper’s project page on the Open Science Framework, https://osf.io/6425d/. The American Trends Panel data that support the findings of this study are available from the Pew Research Center. For the American Trends Panel March 2020 survey dataset, see https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/dataset/covid-19-late-march-2020/. For the American Trends Panel April 2020 survey dataset, see https://www.pewresearch.org/journalism/dataset/covid-19-late-april-2020/.
                Open Science Disclosures:

                The data are available at https://osf.io/6425d/

                The experiment materials are available at https://osf.io/6425d/

                [*] Ori Cantwell, Department of Psychology, Wesleyan University, WesBox 90844, 45 Wyllys Avenue, Middletown, CT 06459, United States ocantwell@wesleyan.edu
                Author information
                © 2021 The Author(s)

                This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC-ND). This license permits copying and redistributing the work in any medium or format for noncommercial use provided the original authors and source are credited and a link to the license is included in attribution. No derivative works are permitted under this license.


                Education,Psychology,Vocational technology,Engineering,Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                information sharing,social media,anxiety,news media,COVID-19


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