Gradual positive and negative affect induction: The effect of verbalizing affective content

Charlotte Out, Hedwig Eisenbarth, Martijn Goudbeek, Emiel Krahmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we study the effect of verbalizing affective pictures on affective state and language production. Individuals describe (Study I: Spoken Descriptions of Pictures) or passively view (Study II: Passively Viewing Pictures) 40 pictures for the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) that gradually increase from neutral to either positive or negative content. We expected that both methods would result in successful affect induction, and that the effect would be stronger for verbally describing pictures than for passively viewing them. Results indicate that speakers indeed felt more negative after describing negative pictures, but that describing positive (compared to neutral) pictures did not result in a more positive state. Contrary to our hypothesis, no differences were found between describing and passively viewing the pictures. Furthermore, we analysed the verbal picture descriptions produced by participants on various dimensions. Results indicate that positive and negative pictures were indeed described with increasingly more affective language in the expected directions. In addition to informing our understanding of the relationship between (spoken) language production and affect, these results also potentially pave the way for a new method of affect induction that uses free expression.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0233592
Number of pages20
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2020


  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Young Adult


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