Affective Computer-Generated Stimulus Exposure: Psychophysiological Support for Increased Elicitation of Negative Emotions in High and Low Fear Subjects

  • Christopher G. Courtney
  • Michael E. Dawson
  • Anne M. Schell
  • Thomas D. Parsons
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5638)


The present study examined physiological measures of affect when viewing images from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS), computer-generated still images, and computer-generated videos of feared and non-feared stimuli. Twenty low fear (LF) and twelve high fear (HF) individuals viewed static and moving images of spiders and snakes. In both LF and HF subjects, computer-generated video images elicited more intense affective responses than the IAPS images and the computer-generated stills. Computer-generated still images were as effective in eliciting fear responses as the IAPS. These results suggest that computer-generated images can be as or more effective as the IAPS in eliciting fear. Regardless of modality, HF subjects showed stronger physiological responses to their specifically feared stimulus (snake or spider) than to a non-feared stimulus.


Psychophysiology Fear EMG skin conductance VR startle 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher G. Courtney
    • 1
    • 3
  • Michael E. Dawson
    • 1
  • Anne M. Schell
    • 2
  • Thomas D. Parsons
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyOccidental CollegeUSA
  3. 3.Institute for Creative TechnologiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaUSA

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