A cluster-based approach to selecting representative stimuli from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) for emotion elicitation

Alexandra C. Constantinescu, Maria K. Wolters, Adam Moore, Sarah E. MacPherson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The International Affective Picture System (IAPS, Lang et al., 2008) is a stimulus database that is frequently used to investigate various aspects of emotional processing. But despite its extensive use, selecting IAPS stimuli for a research project is not usually done according to an established strategy, but is rather tailored to individual studies. Here we propose a standard, replicable method for stimulus selection based on cluster analysis, which recreates the group structure that is most likely to have produced the Valence, Arousal and Dominance norms associated with the IAPS images. Our method includes screening the database for outliers, identifying a suitable clustering solution and then extracting the desired number of stimuli based on their level of certainty of belonging to the cluster they were assigned to. Our method preserves statistical power in studies by maximizing the likelihood that stimuli belong to the cluster structure fitted to them, and by filtering stimuli according to their certainty of cluster membership. While our cluster-based method is illustrated using the IAPS, it can be extended to other stimulus databases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-17
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Early online date10 Jun 2016
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Jun 2016

Keywords

  • IAPS
  • International Affective Picture System
  • cluster analysis
  • stimulus selection
  • emotion

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