Although it may seem like a breeze at times, the back and forth of social interactions is replete with intricacies. When two or more persons are interacting subtle events such as pauses, gestures, eye movements etc. may signal the need for a response. Van Kleef (2010) and others include the expression of emotion to the repertoire of social information. Originally presented as the manifestation of physiological arousal meant to prepare the individual to respond adaptively, researchers have found that the expression emotion can also provide social signals. A good example could be an escalating shouting match that is typical of sports games. Usually an individual will begin shouting and another person reciprocates.
However, shouting is the outcome; before shouting the expression of anger more than likely takes place. One individual more than likely expressed anger. As Van Kleef notes, anger is usually reciprocated with more anger; and so the cycle continues. The end result is the always entertaining and viscerally charged shouting match. Van Kleef writes, that the processing of social information occurs unconsciously and so how one ended up shouting or even reciprocating the anger of another may not be clear to the individual. Thus making an escalated shouting match fun to observe.
Moreover, the social signal of emotion is not limited to bouts of anger such as when two people are laughing and commenting about the shouting match.