Emotion Elicitation Using Films

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Book Chapter

Publication Date



emotion elicitation, films, short film clips, laboratory emotion induction procedures, experimental contexts


As emotion science has matured, the palette of viable emotion elicitation techniques has grown. Increasingly, investigators face a baffling array of techniques to elicit emotion. Unfortunately, the published literature offers little explicit guidance on these issues, forcing investigators to base their decisions on informal rules of thumb, idiosyncratic training experiences, or personal communications. With these needs in mind, we intend this chapter to be a guide for investigators contemplating the use of short film clips to elicit emotion. We first outline the general task of eliciting emotion in a laboratory. Second, we compare the properties of films to other laboratory emotion induction procedures. Third, we discuss how to use films in different experimental contexts and avoid potential pitfalls. Fourth, we offer examples of films that have worked well in our own research applications. Finally, we close with reflections on the future evolution of films as an emotion elicitation procedure.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Emotion Elicitation Using Films, in J. Coan & J. Allen (Eds.), Handbook of Emotion Elicitation and Assessment, Oxford University Press, p. 9-28