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Keeping the magic alive: social sharing of positive life experiences sustains happiness.


Social sharing of positive life experiences has been linked to increased intensity of positive emotion. Less is known about the relations among sharing, the perceived response of the listener, and the duration of positive emotion. We hypothesised that sharing an experience would sustain positive emotion when listeners responded in a manner that highlighted the appraised importance and remarkability of the experience, thereby slowing hedonic adaptation. College students who received a desirable exam grade (N = 165) reported their emotional response, appraisals, and sharing on the day they received their grade and again the following evening. Sharing was associated with longer episodes of positive emotion and more time spent thinking about the positive event. The association between sharing and emotion duration was greatest when sharing partners were perceived as highlighting the importance and remarkability of the event. This type of sharing also mitigated the fading of emotion intensity over time. These findings suggest that sharing sustains positive emotion by promoting appraisals that "keep the magic alive."

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