Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 279–294 | Cite as

The Emotional Movie Database (EMDB): A Self-Report and Psychophysiological Study

  • Sandra Carvalho
  • Jorge Leite
  • Santiago Galdo-Álvarez
  • Óscar F. Gonçalves


Film clips are an important tool for evoking emotional responses in the laboratory. When compared with other emotionally potent visual stimuli (e.g., pictures), film clips seem to be more effective in eliciting emotions for longer periods of time at both the subjective and physiological levels. The main objective of the present study was to develop a new database of affective film clips without auditory content, based on a dimensional approach to emotional stimuli (valence, arousal and dominance). The study had three different phases: (1) the pre-selection and editing of 52 film clips (2) the self-report rating of these film clips by a sample of 113 participants and (3) psychophysiological assessment [skin conductance level (SCL) and the heart rate (HR)] on 32 volunteers. Film clips from different categories were selected to elicit emotional states from different quadrants of affective space. The results also showed that sustained exposure to the affective film clips resulted in a pattern of a SCL increase and HR deceleration in high arousal conditions (i.e., horror and erotic conditions). The resulting emotional movie database can reliably be used in research requiring the presentation of non-auditory film clips with different ratings of valence, arousal and dominance.


Emotion Emotional movie database (EMDB) Heart rate Skin conductance level Affective space 



This work was supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology with individual grants (SFRH/BD/41484/2007 and SFRH/BD/64355/2009). The author’s wish to thank Dr. Christine Hovanitz and two anonymous reviewers for their contributions in improving this article.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest, financial or otherwise, to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Carvalho
    • 1
  • Jorge Leite
    • 1
  • Santiago Galdo-Álvarez
    • 2
  • Óscar F. Gonçalves
    • 1
  1. 1.Neuropsychophysiology Lab Cipsi, School of PsychologyUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal
  2. 2.Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychobiologyUniversity of Santiago de CompostelaSantiago de CompostelaSpain

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