Multivariate Discrimination of Emotion-Specific Autonomic Nervous System Activity
Christie, Israel C.
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The present study investigated autonomic nervous system (ANS) patterning during experimentally manipulated emotion. Film clips previously shown to induce amusement, anger, contentment, disgust, fear, and sadness, in addition to a neutral control, were presented to 34 college-aged subjects while electrodermal activity, blood pressure and electrocardiogram (ECG) were recorded as was self-reported affect. Mean and mean successive difference of inter-beat interval were derived from the ECG. Pattern classification analysis revealed emotion-specific patterning for all emotion conditions except disgust. Discriminant function analysis was used to describe the location of discrete emotions within a dimensional affective state space, for both self-report and ANS activity. Findings suggest traditional dimensional emotion models accurately describe the state space for self-reported emotion, but may require modification in order to accurately describe the state space for ANS activity during discrete emotions. Proposed modifications are consistent with the adoption of a discrete-dimensional hybrid model as well as current trends in emotion theory.
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