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.
Attend or defend? Sex differences in behavioral, autonomic, and respiratory response patterns to emotion-eliciting films
2017; 130: 30–40
Sex differences in emotional reactivity have been studied primarily for negative but less so for positive stimuli; likewise, sex differences in the psychophysiological response-patterning during such stimuli are poorly understood. Thus, the present study examined sex differences in response to negative/positive and high/low arousing films (classified as threat-, loss-, achievement-, and recreation-related, vs. neutral films), while measuring 18 muscular, autonomic, and respiratory parameters. Sex differences emerged for all films, but were most prominent for threat-related films: Despite equivalent valence and arousal ratings, women displayed more facial-muscular and respiratory responding than men and pronounced sympathetic activation (preejection period, other cardiovascular and electrodermal measures), while men showed coactivated sympathetic/parasympathetic responding (including increased respiratory sinus arrhythmia). This indicates a prototypical threat-related defense response in women, while men showed a pattern of sustained orienting, which can be understood as a shift toward less threat proximity in the defense cascade model. Clinical implications are discussed within a socio-evolutionary framework.
View details for PubMedID 29054817
Understanding mixed emotions: paradigms and measures
CURRENT OPINION IN BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES
2017; 15: 62–71
In this review, we examine the paradigms and measures available for experimentally studying mixed emotions in the laboratory. For eliciting mixed emotions, we describe a mixed emotions film library that allows for the repeated elicitation of a specific homogeneous mixed emotional state and appropriately matched pure positive, pure negative, and neutral emotional states. For assessing mixed emotions, we consider subjective and objective measures that fall into univariate, bivariate, and multivariate measurement categories. As paradigms and measures for objectively studying mixed emotions are still in their early stages, we conclude by outlining future directions that focus on the reliability, temporal dynamics, and response coherence of mixed emotions paradigms and measures. This research will build a strong foundation for future studies and significantly advance our understanding of mixed emotions.
View details for PubMedID 28804752
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5548140
Computational reproducibility of "Goal relevance and goal conduciveness appraisals lead to differential autonomic reactivity in emotional responding to performance feedback" (Kreibig, Gendolla, & Scherer, 2012): A guide and new evidence.
International journal of psychophysiology : official journal of the International Organization of Psychophysiology
2017; 119: 93–107
The emerging field of the psychophysiology of motivation bears many new findings, but little replication. Using my own data (Kreibig, Gendolla, & Scherer, 2012), I test the reproducibility of this specific study, provide the necessary materials to make the study reproducible, and instantiate proper reproducibility practices that other researchers can use as a road map toward the same goal. In addition, based on re-analyses of the original data, I report new evidence for the motivational effects of emotional responding to performance feedback. Specifically, greater appraisal of goal relevance amplifies the emotional response to events appraised as conducive (i.e., effort mobilization), but not to those appraised as obstructive to a person's goals (i.e., effort withdrawal). I conclude by providing a ten-step road map of best practices to facilitate computational reproducibility for future studies.
View details for PubMedID 28600152
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
View details for PubMedID 25959633
Social Integration and Mortality in Patients With Coronary Heart Disease: Findings From the Heart and Soul Study
2014; 76 (8): 659-668
To determine why lower social integration predicts higher mortality in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).The association between social integration and mortality was examined prospectively in 1019 outpatients with stable CHD from the Heart and Soul Study. Baseline social integration was assessed with the Berkman Social Network Index. Cox proportional hazards models were used to determine the extent to which demographic and disease-relevant confounders and potential biological, behavioral, and psychological mediators explained the association between social integration and mortality.During a mean (standard deviation) follow-up period of 6.7 (2.3) years, the age-adjusted annual rate of mortality was 6.3% among socially isolated patients and 4.1% among nonisolated patients (age-adjusted hazard ratio [HR] = 1.61, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.26-2.05, p < .001). After adjustment for demographic and disease-relevant confounders, socially isolated patients had a 50% greater risk of death than did nonisolated patients (HR = 1.50, 95% CI = 1.07-2.10). Separate adjustment for potential biological (HR = 1.53, CI = 1.05-2.25) and psychological mediators (HR = 1.52, CI = 1.08-2.14) did not significantly attenuate this association, whereas adjustment for potential behavioral mediators did (HR = 1.30, CI = 0.91-1.86). C-reactive protein and hemoglobin A1c were identified as important biological and omega-3 fatty acids, smoking, and medication adherence as important behavioral potential mediators, with smoking making the largest contribution.In this sample of outpatients with baseline stable CHD, the association between social integration and mortality was largely explained by health-related behavioral pathways, particularly smoking.
View details for DOI 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000100
View details for Web of Science ID 000343883900011
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4197069
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 PubMedID 23730872
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
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
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
- 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
12th Annual Meeting of the Society-for-Psychophysiological-Research
WILEY-BLACKWELL. 2007: 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