This is my latest article for Amped Asia. I’m a little apprehensive that it will go over the heads of general readers. But I really do think it introduces a groundbreaking concept for the social arts community.
Emotional Contagion and How to Harness It
As usual, if you haven’t got the fundamentals down yet, then take care of those first–body language and positioning, eye contact, vocal tonality, and most importantly, your mindset.
In the last article, I talked about the importance of having fun and how to start having fun no matter where you are.
While knowing what to do is helpful, it’s even better to understand WHY something works. That way, you can adapt it to different contexts, internalize it, and make it your own.
In a very interesting book called Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, author of the bestselling Emotional Intelligence, draws attention to some highly illuminating research in psychology and neuroscience that helps to explain exactly why one’s “state” and “having fun” are necessary and so effective in attracting women.
(Incidentally, for those who have read my blog article on “How to Project a Sexual Vibe,” this also provides a scientific explanation for why sexual state transference works so well. If you haven’t read it, go to my website and click on Best of the Blog.)
When I first started coaching, I wondered why even though I could give some random guy the exact same words I say to women, he could sometimes still bomb miserably.
Even when he modeled my body language and vocal tonality, although the response was somewhat better, there was still something wrong.
He would still come across as too contrived, too fake, too insincere. His sub-communications betrayed him.
I came to realize that actually underlying all of the words, body language, and tonality was the bedrock foundation: Mental and Emotional State.
Whatever you are feeling at the time, she will eventually start to feel. If she does not like the feelings you are transferring to her, she will respond almost immediately by cringing and pushing away.
This explains why I have seen naturals with lazy body language, sloppy tonality, and the most offensive words still manage to attract multiple women in mere minutes. It was because of the principle of Emotional Contagion.
If a man is not feeling confident or comfortable or content, then he will very likely turn off whatever girl he is talking to regardless of his words, body language, or tonality.
What’s going on here? Now it’s time for a little lesson in neuroscience. By the way, all of this is common knowledge in the field.
The amygdala is a key part of the human brain and acts as the brain’s system for emotional contagion. Among its many functions, it extracts emotional meaning from nonverbal images, such as a frown, a sudden change of posture, or a jump in a tone of voice. This happens in a split second, even before the rest of the brain can process what we are looking at.
What’s also interesting is that the amygdala has no access to the brain’s centers of speech. It is, literally, speechless. When we register a feeling, signals from our brain’s wiring, instead of alerting the verbal areas, which express what we know using words, mimic the emotion in our own bodies.
The amygdala registers the emotional aspects of whatever we perceive—nervous mannerisms and twitches, the resigned slouch of defeat, the sensuality of a sexy smile—and then processes that data subliminally, below the level of conscious awareness. This reflexive, unconscious process then carries that emotion into us by priming the reciprocal feeling (which may sometimes be different, such as feeling fear on seeing anger). This is the mechanism for “catching” a feeling from someone else.
“The fact that we can trigger any emotion at all in someone else—or they in us—testifies to the powerful mechanism by which one person’s feelings spread to another. Such contagions are the central transaction in the emotional economy, the give-and-take of feeling that accompanies every human encounter we have, no matter what the ostensible business at hand may be.”
Because all this emotional processing and transference happens faster than the conscious, verbal parts of our brains can take in, we are often at a loss as to why we feel or reacted the way we did. This is what drives people to backward rationalize.
Borrowing a phrase from David DeAngelo, “Attraction is not a choice.”
Attraction is not even conscious.
Clearly then, what is sabotaging the poor random guy mimicking my words is that he is feeling and thus transferring the wrong emotions.
How then do you generate and transfer the right emotions?
Having the right words, body language, and tonality help because if you adopt the right outward, physical stance, vocal sounds, and words, it will help to generate within you the corresponding appropriate feelings.
If you stand confidently, you will then tend to feel confident. If you speak with a strong tone of voice, you will then tend to feel strong. In this regard, words are not as powerful in affecting one’s state as body language and tonality are.
If you know some hypnosis or neuro-linguistic programming, then you should avail yourself of those helpful tools for altering your state, as well.
But even the average Joe can start to do this. Re-read the previous article in which I talk about outcome independence and how to have fun.
This is really about controlling your own sub-communications. Maybe if you are a really good actor, you might have developed some degree of control over these. But for most people, it is far more efficient and effective to monitor your emotional state and coax it in the right direction.
Your emotional state in many ways dictates your sub-communications, which trigger the process of state transference in the people around you.
Learn to have fun and to be happy and positive about yourself and life. Be passionate about your passions! If you don’t have any passions yet, well, that’s probably a major reason you are not yet having remarkable success with women. Explore your interests. Develop passions in life.
Feel intensely. A common characteristic of charismatic individuals is that they feel emotions strongly. Encourage and develop those tendencies within yourself. Be passionate. You will draw others to you in an almost effortless way because you will be transferring your good feelings to them.
As New Age-y or Buddhist as this probably sounds, if you learn to identify the emotions you feel, you will start to be able to control your own emotional states.
For example, learn that even in stressful situations, there are many effective ways of inducing calm and relaxation in yourself. Learn the many different ways of generating in yourself the feelings of gratitude, happiness, or excitement.
If you want your partner to feel sexually aroused, you can cause yourself to feel turned on while looking deeply into your partner’s eyes. This is so powerful that I caution novices from using this until you’ve gained more experience inducing less intense emotions.
Next time you talk to people, pay attention to your emotional state. Induce in yourself the feelings you want the other person to have, and then see the magic work.
Not only will you be more attractive, you will also be a more empowered and happy person.
Happy playin’, Dr. Asian Rake.