Faking a positive attitude to elicit benefits may backfire when used with co-workers, according to a study which suggests that making an effort to communicate the felt emotions can be more productive.
The study, published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, surveyed working adults in a wide variety of industries including education, manufacturing, engineering, and financial services for two types of emotion regulation — surface acting and deep acting.
“Surface acting is faking what you’re displaying to other people. Inside, you may be upset or frustrated, but on the outside, you’re trying your best to be pleasant or positive,” said Allison Gabriel, study co-author from Eller College of Management in the US.
“Deep acting is trying to change how you feel inside. When you’re deep acting, you’re actually trying to align how you feel with how you interact with other people,” Gabriel explained.
The researchers sought to know whether people choose to engage in emotion regulation when interacting with their co-workers.