Hearing Stories That Violate Expectations Leads to Emotional Broadcasting

Kent D. Harber, Peter Podolski, Lisbeth Dyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Emotional Broadcaster Theory (EBT) proposes that the need to disclose turns people into news broadcasters whose stories inform others of major events. The present research tested whether the discrepancy theory of emotion explains emotional broadcasting. Study 1 showed that hearers anticipated being more strongly affected by and more likely to retell unusual stories (per discrepancy theory) than stories conveyed by a distressed teller (per emotional contagion theory). Study 2 tested whether the same unusual event (violence) would be disclosed more by people for whom violence is unexpected. As predicted, people with minimal exposure to violence regarded violence as more disturbing and as more likely to be disclosed than did those with extensive exposure to violence. Study 3 replicated Study 2, and showed that violence exposure moderated anticipated emotional arousal and disclosure only for violent events but not for unusual nonviolent events. Neither violence seeking nor social desirability confounded these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-28
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Language and Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language


  • emotions
  • narratives
  • norms
  • self-disclosure
  • social networks
  • violence and aggression


Dive into the research topics of 'Hearing Stories That Violate Expectations Leads to Emotional Broadcasting'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this