Sr Research Scholar, Psychology
Honors & Awards
Postdoctoral fellowship for prospective researchers, Swiss National Science Foundation (2010-2012)
NIDCR Building Bridges Poster Award, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (2014)
Postdoctoral fellowship for advanced researchers, Swiss National Science Foundation (2012-2015)
Ph.D., University of Geneva, Switzerland, Psychology (2009)
Diploma (equiv. Master), University of Kiel, Germany, Psychology (2006)
Current Research and Scholarly Interests
My major research interests are on the elicitation, differentiation, and response patterning of emotion. With this, I address the following interlinked questions:
1. What are the cognitive-motivational processes that underlie the elicitation and differentiation of emotion and that drive the response patterning in the autonomic and somatic nervous system?
2. What are the specific effects of different emotional processes assumed to influence bodily reactions for preparation of adaptive behavior and to produce expressive signals for social communication?
I conceptualize emotion as a multi-component process with effects on cognition, subjective feeling, physiology, motor expression, and action tendencies. To assess emotional processes, I use both self-report measures of emotional feelings as well as psychophysiological variables in my research.
Eliciting positive, negative and mixed emotional states: A film library for affective scientists
COGNITION & EMOTION
2016; 30 (5): 827-856
We describe the creation of a film library designed for researchers interested in positive (amusing), negative (repulsive), mixed (amusing and repulsive) and neutral emotional states. Three hundred 20- to 33-second film clips videotaped by amateurs were selected from video-hosting websites and screened in laboratory studies by 75 female participants on self-reported amusement and repulsion (Experiments 1 and 2). On the basis of pre-defined cut-off values, 51 positive, 39 negative, 59 mixed and 50 neutral film clips were selected. These film clips were then presented to 411 male and female participants in a large online study to identify film clips that reliably induced the target emotions (Experiment 3). Depending on the goal of the study, researchers may choose positive, negative, mixed or neutral emotional film clips on the basis of Experiments 1 and 2 or Experiment 3 ratings.
View details for DOI 10.1080/02699931.2015.1031089
View details for Web of Science ID 000375942100001
View details for PubMedID 25929696
The psychophysiology of mixed emotional states: Internal and external replicability analysis of a direct replication study
2015; 52 (7): 873-886
The replicability of emotion-related physiological changes constitutes a fundamental issue in affective science. We undertook a direct replication of the physiological differentiation of amusement, disgust, and a mixed emotional state as previously reported (Kreibig, Samson, & Gross, 2013). In the current study, 48 women watched 54 amusing, disgusting, and mixed emotional film clips while cardiovascular, electrodermal, and respiratory measures were obtained. Primary analyses indicated physiological differentiation of the mixed emotional state from amusement and disgust. We evaluated (a) the probability that future replications of the current study would yield similar results using bootstrapped confidence intervals of effect sizes, and (b) the stability of results of physiological reactivity between actual replications using correlation and regression analyses. Findings suggest replicable differentiation of amusement, disgust, and a mixed emotional state.
View details for DOI 10.1111/psyp.12425
View details for Web of Science ID 000356069700002
- Social Integration and Mortality in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: Findings From the Heart and Soul Study PSYCHOSOMATIC MEDICINE 2014; 76 (8): 659-668
The psychophysiology of mixed emotional states
2013; 50 (8): 799-811
How to conceptualize mixed emotional states is a central issue in the field of affective science. Nondifferentiation, additive, and emergence accounts of mixed emotions make divergent predictions regarding physiological responses in mixed emotions. To test these predictions, 43 women watched film clips that elicited amusement, disgust, or mixed emotions while feeling self-report, facial electromyography, cardiovascular, electrodermal, and respiratory measures were assessed. Simultaneous self-reports of amusement and disgust confirmed elicitation of a mixed emotional state. Physiologically, mixed emotions differed from pure amusement and pure disgust both in intensity and pattern. This suggests a distinct physiological response of the mixed emotional state, as predicted by the emergence account of mixed emotions. Implications for emotion theory and research are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1111/psyp.12064
View details for Web of Science ID 000328943100015
Goal relevance and goal conduciveness appraisals lead to differential autonomic reactivity in emotional responding to performance feedback
2012; 91 (3): 365-375
Using an appraisal framework, the present experiment tested the hypothesis that goal relevance and goal conduciveness have an interactive effect on emotional responding. We expected that elicitation of positive or negative emotions in response to events that are conducive or obstructive to attainment of one's goals depends on the level of goal relevance. To test this hypothesis, we presented 119 participants with positive (success) or negative (failure) performance feedback of high or low relevance in an achievement context. Feeling self-report showed effects of conduciveness, but no interaction with relevance. Physiological reactivity showed the predicted interaction effect on cardiac autonomic regulation (CAR), with higher CAR for high-relevance conducive than obstructive conditions. Moreover, mean arterial pressure (MAP) and skin conductance level (SCL) differed between conducive and obstructive conditions, and heart rate (HR) and SCL differed between relevance conditions. Implications for the plausibility and current empirical support of the interaction hypothesis are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2012.08.007
View details for Web of Science ID 000312182700006
View details for PubMedID 22947258
- The Role of Visual Complexity in Affective Reactions to Webpages: Subjective, Eye Movement, and Cardiovascular Responses IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON AFFECTIVE COMPUTING 2011; 2 (4): 230-236
An affective computing approach to physiological emotion specificity: Toward subject-independent and stimulus-independent classification of film-induced emotions
2011; 48 (7): 908-922
The hypothesis of physiological emotion specificity has been tested using pattern classification analysis (PCA). To address limitations of prior research using PCA, we studied effects of feature selection (sequential forward selection, sequential backward selection), classifier type (linear and quadratic discriminant analysis, neural networks, k-nearest neighbors method), and cross-validation method (subject- and stimulus-(in)dependence). Analyses were run on a data set of 34 participants watching two sets of three 10-min film clips (fearful, sad, neutral) while autonomic, respiratory, and facial muscle activity were assessed. Results demonstrate that the three states can be classified with high accuracy by most classifiers, with the sparsest model having only five features, even for the most difficult task of identifying the emotion of an unknown subject in an unknown situation (77.5%). Implications for choosing PCA parameters are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2010.01170.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000291255500004
View details for PubMedID 21261632
Affective modulation of the acoustic startle: Does sadness engage the defensive system?
2011; 87 (1): 161-163
It has been suggested that high arousal negative affective states, but not low arousal negative affective states, potentiate the startle response. Because sadness has generally been studied as a low arousal emotion, it remains unclear whether high arousal sadness would produce startle potentiation to a similar degree as high arousal fear. To address this issue, 32 participants viewed two sets of 10-min film clips selected to induce two affective states of high subjective arousal (fear, sadness) and a neutral state of low subjective arousal, while the eyeblink startle response associated with brief noise bursts was assessed using orbicularis oculi EMG. Larger blink magnitude was found for fearful than for sad or neutral clips. Implications for conceptualizing sadness are discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2011.02.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000290195100020
View details for PubMedID 21352887
Autonomic nervous system activity in emotion: A review
2010; 84 (3): 394-421
Autonomic nervous system (ANS) activity is viewed as a major component of the emotion response in many recent theories of emotion. Positions on the degree of specificity of ANS activation in emotion, however, greatly diverge, ranging from undifferentiated arousal, over acknowledgment of strong response idiosyncrasies, to highly specific predictions of autonomic response patterns for certain emotions. A review of 134 publications that report experimental investigations of emotional effects on peripheral physiological responding in healthy individuals suggests considerable ANS response specificity in emotion when considering subtypes of distinct emotions. The importance of sound terminology of investigated affective states as well as of choice of physiological measures in assessing ANS reactivity is discussed.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2010.03.010
View details for Web of Science ID 000279663000003
View details for PubMedID 20371374
Psychophysiological effects of emotional responding to goal attainment
2010; 84 (3): 474-487
Effects of positive performance feedback on self-reported emotion and associated physiological responding and their relation to motivational engagement were investigated in an achievement context. To create a situation of self-relevant goal striving and goal attainment, appraisals of goal relevance and goal conduciveness were manipulated by presenting 65 female undergraduate students with a psychological test, followed by positive performance feedback. Emotional responding during the 1-min feedback showed elicitation of various positive achievement-related emotions associated with broad sympathetic activation (decreased pre-ejection period, increased cardiac output, and increased skin conductance and response rate). Individual-level emotion reports indicated distinct subgroups of participants experiencing primarily either interest, joy, pride, or surprise. Between-participants physiological reactivity was found to differ based on primary self-reported feelings. We discuss motivational antecedents and consequences in achievement-related emotions.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2009.11.004
View details for Web of Science ID 000279663000008
View details for PubMedID 19941932
- The biopsychology of emotion: Current theoretical, empirical, and methodological perspectives BIOLOGICAL PSYCHOLOGY 2010; 84 (3): 381-382
Cardiovascular, electrodermal, and respiratory response patterns to fear- and sadness-inducing films
2007; 44 (5): 787-806
Responses to fear- and sadness-inducing films were assessed using a broad range of cardiovascular (heart rate, T-wave amplitude, low- and high-frequency heart rate variability, stroke volume, preejection period, left-ventricular ejection time, Heather index, blood pressure, pulse amplitude and transit time, and finger temperature), electrodermal (level, response rate, and response amplitude), and respiratory (rate, tidal volume and its variability, inspiratory flow rate, duty cycle, and end-tidal pCO(2)) measures. Subjective emotional experience and facial behavior (Corrugator Supercilii and Zygomaticus Major EMG) served as control measures. Results indicated robust differential physiological response patterns for fear, sadness, and neutral (mean classification accuracy 85%). Findings are discussed in terms of the fight-flight and conservation-withdrawal responses and possible limitations of a valence-arousal categorization of emotion in affective space.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1469-8986.2007.00550.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000249002200013
View details for PubMedID 17598878