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TitleMinho affective sentences (MAS): probing the roles of sex, mood, and empathy in affective ratings of verbal stimuli
Author(s)Pinheiro, Ana P.
Dias, Marcelo Francisco Vieira
Pedrosa, João Manuel Patrício
Soares, Ana Paula
Affective ratings
Affective dimensions
Discrete emotions
Individual differences
Issue dateApr-2017
JournalBehavior Research Methods
CitationPinheiro, A. P., Dias, M., Pedrosa, J., & Soares, A. P. (2017). Minho Affective Sentences (MAS): Probing the role of sex, mood and empathy in affective ratings of verbal stimuli. Behavior Research Methods, 49, 698-716. DOI: 10.3758/s13428-016-0726-0
Abstract(s)During social communication, words and sentences play a critical role in the expression of emotional meaning. The Minho Affective Sentences (MAS) were developed to respond to the lack of a standardized sentences battery with normative affective ratings: 192 neutral, positive, and negative declarative sentences were strictly controlled for psycholinguistic variables such as number of words and letters, and per million word frequency. The sentences were designed to represent examples of each of the five basic emotions (anger, sadness, disgust, fear, happiness) and of neutral situations. These sentences were presented to 536 participants who rated the stimuli using both dimensional and categorical measures of emotions. Sex differences were also explored. Additionally, we probed how personality, empathy and mood from a sub-set of 40 participants modulated the affective ratings. Our results confirmed that the MAS affective norms are valid measures to guide the selection of stimuli for experimental studies of emotion. The combination of dimensional and categorical ratings provided a more fine-grained characterization of the affective properties of sentences. Moreover, affective ratings of positive and negative sentences were not only modulated by participant’s sex, but also by individual differences in empathy and mood state.Together, our results indicate that, in their quest to reveal the neuro-functional underpinnings of verbal emotional processing, researchers should consider not only the influence of sex, but also of inter-individual differences in empathy and mood states, in the response to the emotional meaning of sentences.
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