Influence of theatre hall layout on actors’ and spectators’ emotions
“Audience effect” is the influence of an audience size or composition on the emotional state of a public speaker. One characteristic of the audience which has received little attention is the spatial position of observers. We tested the influence of three positions (frontal, bi-frontal, and quadri-frontal) on actors and spectators’ emotions in real theatrical representations. Measurements consisted in self-report questionnaires and galvanic skin responses. The layout of the theatre hall influenced both cognitive and physiological components of emotions. Actors were more influenced than spectators and showed an overall accuracy in self-perception. The quadri-frontal audience received the highest scores in actors’ feeling assessments and galvanic skin responses. In addition, we found a discrepancy between self-assessment of emotional states by spectators and how actors perceive them. Attention should thus be paid in the layout of performance places with obviously more attention from the public and better feelings for actors in more dispersed settings.
KeywordsQuestionnaires Galvanic skin response Public speech Theatrical representations Audience effect
We are grateful to the “Théâtre National de Bretagne” for allowing this research with their school of actors. We greatly appreciate the friendly participation of all actors as well as the master student Aurélie Carré. We are grateful to Christophe Lunel and to Antoine L’Azou for their help in the coordination of the project. We thank the cultural department of Rennes 1 University, in particular Marie-Aude Lefeuvre, for making the “Diapason” theatre available to run the experiments. We are grateful to Technicolor for having made available the galvanic Skin Response sensors used during this study. This study was funded by Rennes 1 University, via the “Défis émergent” incentive action and the Cultural service department, as well as by the “Fabrique Autonome des Acteurs” with the support of the Fondation Daniel & Nina Carasso and the French ministry of culture.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed here were in accordance with our national ethical standards and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments. Our study being only observational no further ethical authorization was requested according to the French law.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Figner B, Murphy RO (2011) Using skin conductance in judgment and decision making research. In: Schulte-Mecklenbeck M, Küehberger A, Ranyard R (eds) A handbook of process tracing methods for decision research: a critical review and user’s guide. Psychology Press, New York, pp 163–184Google Scholar
- Rosenthal R, Rosnow RL (1991) Essentials of behavioral research methods and data analysis, 2nd edn. McGraw Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Schmidt S, Walach H (2000) Electrodermal activity (Eda): state-of-the-art measurement and techniques for parapsychological purposes. J Parapsychol 64(2):139–163Google Scholar
- Venables PH, Christie MJ (1980) Electrodermal activity. Tech Psychophysiol 54(3):3–67Google Scholar
- Zajonc RB (1967) Psychologie sociale expérimentale. Dunod, ParisGoogle Scholar