Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 47, Issue 3, pp 720–735 | Cite as

Emotional connotations of words related to authority and community

  • Gesche SchauenburgEmail author
  • Jens Ambrasat
  • Tobias Schröder
  • Christian von Scheve
  • Markus Conrad


We present a database of 858 German words from the semantic fields of authority and community, which represent core dimensions of human sociality. The words were selected on the basis of co-occurrence profiles of representative keywords for these semantic fields. All words were rated along five dimensions, each measured by a bipolar semantic-differential scale: Besides the classic dimensions of affective meaning (valence, arousal, and potency), we collected ratings of authority and community with newly developed scales. The results from cluster, correlational, and multiple regression analyses on the rating data suggest a robust negativity bias for authority valuation among German raters recruited via university mailing lists, whereas community ratings appear to be rather unrelated to the well-established affective dimensions. Furthermore, our data involve a strong overall negative correlation—rather than the classical U-shaped distribution—between valence and arousal for socially relevant concepts. Our database provides a valuable resource for research questions at the intersection of cognitive neuroscience and social psychology. It can be downloaded as supplemental materials with this article.


Affective word database Ratings Authority Community Valence Arousal Potency 


Author note

This research was funded by a grant from the Cluster of Excellence "Languages of Emotion" at Freie Universität Berlin to C.v.S., T.S., and M.C. (project #411) as part of the Excellence Initiative of the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Supplementary material

13428_2014_494_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (367 kb)
ESM 1 (XLSX 367 kb)


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gesche Schauenburg
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jens Ambrasat
    • 2
  • Tobias Schröder
    • 3
  • Christian von Scheve
    • 2
  • Markus Conrad
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of General and Neurocognitive Psychology and Cluster “Languages of Emotion”Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and Cluster “Languages of Emotion”Freie Universität BerlinBerlinGermany
  3. 3.Institute for Urban FuturesPotsdam University of Applied SciencesPotsdamGermany
  4. 4.Department of Cognitive PsychologyUniversidad de La LagunaLa Laguna, Spain

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