Developing original quantitative tools for emotion recognition has become one of the most fashionable topic in psychological research. In this work we present results from a pilot study aiming at identifying emotions through psychophysiological responses to visual stimuli chosen from a new database of affective pictures.
In order to construct a database made up of pictures rated by a sample of participants representative of the general population, we have built an online questionnaire of 80 visual stimuli, posted on the Internet via social media sites and promoted by word of mouth.Out of the 309 respondents, only 198 (127 females and 71 males, mean age 29.45, ranging from 18 to 62 years) evaluated at least 40 pictures; on average 173 ratings have been collected for each picture. Finally, 20 stimuli consistently rated by subjects have been selected. These stimuli will be used in the experimental sessions and will be made available upon request.
To our knowledge only the International Affective Pictures System (IAPS), has been used in children and normative ratings are available for this sample. In particular, a subset of IAPS pictures have been selected and rated by groups of children belonging to three developmental age groups (Lang et al., 2008): 7-9 yrs (n=36), 10-12 yrs (n=28), 13 - 14 yrs (n=62).
As well known, IAPS has been created according to a dimensional theory (including valence, arousal and dominance evaluations) and recently it has been tested according to a discrete theory of emotions including ratings on primary emotions (Mikels et al., 2005).
We construct a new database of affective stimuli, based on categorical theory of emotions, specifically suited to elicit 3 target emotions (neutral/anger/fear) in children. The rating task was proposed as a game based on a fantasy story. Perceived emotion and its intensity had to be indicated and the three affective dimensions of the Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM) were also rated. Out of the 144 respondents, 70 children (40% girls, mean age 10.14, range 7-14) evaluated at least 36 pictures. 15 stimuli consistently rated by subjects have been selected to be included in the FIRB Affective Picture System for Children (FAPS-C).