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Dr. Sylvia Morelli
University of Illinois at Chicago
Department of Psychology

"If you think about the last time you shared exciting news with someone you loved, you might remember how his/her enthusiastic response elevated your mood and made you feel even happier. Or perhaps you received a lukewarm response that deflated you and made it difficult to stay happy. In recalling this experience, you may intuitively understand how important it is to connect with others and feel that they share your emotional experiences. Over the past decade, the explosive growth of Facebook (currently tallying to 1 billion users) confirms this intuition and demonstrates how we seek out opportunities – both as communicators and receivers – to reinforce our emotional experiences by sharing them with others. Our research focuses on understanding this core human experience, examining how people share the emotions of others (i.e., empathy) and respond when others empathize with them (i.e., feeling understood)."