The psychological signature of sadness: A comparison between text, film and virtual reality

Gilpin, Gina and Gain, James and Lipinska, Gosia (2021) The psychological signature of sadness: A comparison between text, film and virtual reality, Brain and Cognition, 152, 105734, Elsevier.

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Studies focused on the ubiquitous emotion of sadness demonstrate substantial variability in physiological re- sponses during sadness elicitation, with no consensus regarding the physiological pattern of sadness. Variability in findings could be attributed to (a) the use of different induction techniques across studies or (b) the existence of subtypes of sadness with distinct physiological activation patterns. Typically, studies have used text and film to elicit sadness. However, virtual reality (VR) confers advantages over more traditional methods by allowing individuals a subjective sense of “being there” or presence. We compared participants’ physiological responses to the same narrative presented via VR, Film and Story (n = 20 each) and collected their subjective responses to the stimuli. Results confirmed that participants in all conditions experienced the discrete emotion of sadness. Moreover, participants in the VR condition experienced the highest degree of presence. Regarding psycho- physiological responses, participants in the VR condition had the lowest degree of baseline-adjusted para- sympathetic activation in comparison to participants in the Film condition. Furthermore, while participants in the VR group showed diminished baseline-adjusted respiration rate and parasympathetic activation with an increase in presence, the opposite pattern was true for participants in the other conditions. The data suggest that the VR condition may elicit an activating pattern of sadness; whereas Film and Story conditions may elicit a deactivating pattern of sadness. Our results have implications for research using the discrete model of emotion, highlighting that different emotion elicitation techniques may result in differing expressions of what is consid- ered a unitary emotion.

Item Type: Journal article (paginated)
Subjects: Human-centered computing > Human computer interaction (HCI)
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2021 10:55
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2021 10:55

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