Motivation and emotion/Tutorials/Measuring emotion

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Tutorial 08: Measuring emotion
This is the eighth tutorial for the motivation and emotion unit of study.

Overview[edit | edit source]

This tutorial discusses:

  • measurement of emotion
  • Positive and Negative Affect Scale

How can emotion be measured?[edit | edit source]

Figure 1. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is an advanced method of neuroimaging which can be used to assess emotion, but is resource-intensive.
  • Behaviour
  • Facial expression
  • Neural activation (e.g., fMRI)
  • Physiological arousal e.g.,
    • Pupil dilation
    • Eye tracking
    • Skin conductance
    • Brain activity (EEG, fMRI)

These methods are quite resource intensive. They are also based on what is externally observable or physiologically scannable. But emotion is also fundamentally phenomenological/subjective. So, another mesurement option is to ask people to introspect and self-report.

Measuring emotion[edit | edit source]

Emotion can be measured using idiographic (pictorial) tools such as the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM; Bradley & Lang, 1994).

Some commonly used, general self-report measures of emotion used in non-clinical research include:

See also: Affect measures (Wikipedia)

PANAS[edit | edit source]

The Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS; Watson & Clark, 1999) is the most widely used self-report measure in emotion research.

Strengths of the PANAS include:

  • Simplicity – based on 1-word emotion descriptors
  • Factor structure – Short (20-item) and long (60-item) versions
  • Flexibility
    • Temporal framing – from present state to general
    • Domain – General or specific
  • Availability – Free to use

Your profile[edit | edit source]

  • Complete this short version of the PANAS (20-items; Google Form)
  • Include a code word if you would like to know your individual results

Distributions[edit | edit source]

  • Examine class distributions for positive affect (PA) and negative affect (NA)
  • Compare with USA university norms (see Table 1):
    • PA = 3 to 3.5
    • NA = 1.5 to 2

Table 1

PANAS-20 Positive and Negative Affect Norms

Source N PA NA
Watson et al. (1988) 660 2.97 1.48
Watson & Clark (1994) 3622 3.57 1.95

Temporal framing[edit | edit source]

  • Moment (you feel this way right now, that is, at the present moment)
  • Today (you have felt this way today)
  • Past few days (you have felt this way during the past few days)
  • Week (you have felt this way during the past week)
  • Past few weeks (you have felt this way during the past few weeks)
  • Year (you have felt this way during the past year)
  • General (you generally feel this way that is, how you feel on average)

Correlations[edit | edit source]

  • Correlations between PA and NA range between -.12 (Today) and -.23 (Year) (Watson et al., 1988). The negative correlation indicates that when one dimension is higher the other one tends to be lower, but this relationship is very weak (1% to 5% shared variance). So, it is best to consider PA and NA as independent dimensions of affective experience.
  • Test-retest reliability – how stable is this measure of emotion over time? Based on Watson et al. (1988):
    • PA (ranges between .54 (Moment) and .68 (General)
    • NA (ranges between .45 (Moment) and .71 (General)

Factor structure[edit | edit source]

There are short (20-item) and long (60-item) versions of the PANAS.

Short (20 items; 2 factors; see Table 2)
  • Positive affect (10 items)
  • Negative affect (10 items)

Table 2

PANAS-20 Positive and Negative Affect Items

Positive affect Negative affect
Active Afraid
Alert Ashamed
Attentive Distressed
Determined Guilty
Enthusiastic Hostile
Excited Irritable
Inspired Jittery
Interested Nervous
Proud Scared
Strong Upset
Long (60 items; 11 factors)
  • Basic negative emotions
    • Fear (5 items): afraid, frightened, jittery, nervous, scared, shaky
    • Hostility (6 items): angry, disgusted, hostile, irritable, loathing, scornful
    • Guilt (6 items): angry at self, ashamed, blameworthy, disgusted with self, guilty
    • Sadness (5 items): alone, angry, blue, downhearted, sad
  • Basic positivity emotions
    • Joviality (8 items): cheerful, delighted, energetic, enthusiastic, excited, happy, joyful, lively
    • Self-Assurance (6 items): bold, confident, daring, fearless, proud, strong
    • Attentiveness (5 items): alert, attentive, concentrating, determined
  • Other affective states
    • Shyness (4 items): bashful, sheepish, shy, timid
    • Fatigue (4 items): drowsy, sleepy, sluggish, tired
    • Serenity (3 items): at ease, calm, relaxed
    • Surprise (3 items): amazed, astonished, surprised

Topic development feedback[edit | edit source]

  1. Check the chapter's "discuss" page for written feedback
  2. Priorities:
    • Address the topic (sub-title question)
    • Avoid too much background information; focus directly on the topic; cut to the chase
    • Balance coverage of theory and research (ideally integrated); often there is too much theory and too little research; make sure to identify and use the best available research, including systematic/meta-analytic reviews
    • Good quality written expression (consider using Studiosity, Grammarly, and peer review)
    • Learning features (bells and whistles):
      • Overview should start with a scenario or case study in feature box with an image
      • embed inter-wiki links the first time key words are mentioned
      • examples/case studies
      • feature boxes
      • quizzes etc.
  3. Headings:
    • Use sentence casing
    • 2-levels often best - but avoid having only one sub-heading in a section
    • Descriptive, but not overly long
  4. Overview:
    • Consider introducing a case study or example to catch reader interest
    • Establish focus questions
  5. Conclusion: What are the take-home messages? (i.e., answers to the sub-title and/or focus questions)
  6. Citation and reference formatting: use APA 7th ed. (infographic) or wiki style but not both
  7. Social contributions
    • Can be to current or previous book chapters (can be direct edits or discussion), discussion forum, or X (formerly known as Twitter)
    • provide direct links to evidence: View the page history, select the version of the page before and after your contributions, click "compare selected revisions", and then use this website address as a direct link to evidence for listing on your user page. For more info, see Making and summarising social contributions.

Recording[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]


References[edit | edit source]

Bradley, M. M., & Lang, P. J. (1994). Measuring emotion: The self-assessment manikin and the semantic differential. Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry, 25(1), 49–59.

Watson, D., & Clark, L. A. (1994). The PANAS-X: Manual for the positive and negative affect schedule-expanded form.

Watson, D., Clark, L. A., & Tellegen, A. (1988). Development and validation of brief measures of positive and negative affect: the PANAS scales. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54(6), 1063–1070.