The psychology of a shared experience


Rachel Hershenberg, a licensed clinical psychologist and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University, spoke with marketing strategist Leigh Long about “the intersection of emotions and experience” for Marketing Resource Directory. Hershenberg’s thoughts on the two types of shared experiences are pertinent to those who plan incentive travel and off-site meetings.

“When we talk about sharing experiences, we can think of that in two distinct ways. The first is actively sharing an experience with another, meaning you’re participating in an activity with someone else. Assuming we’re talking about an enjoyable activity, there is definitely benefit to engaging in positive activities with another person. It can maximize how much you enjoy the event while strengthening the bond you feel for one another because you participated in it together.

“The second type of sharing an experience is having the experience and then telling someone else about it. We tend to think less about this type of sharing – and there is really great data showing how meaningful it is. Researchers call it capitalizing when you tell someone else about a positive event in your life. The event could have taken place alone or with people – the details don’t matter. What matters is that you get a chance to re-experience your positive event by drawing out the details and having a conversation that has you elaborate on what was meaningful about it.”

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