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Valence Lasts Longer than Arousal

Persistence of Induced Moods as Assessed by Psychophysiological Measures

Published Online:

How long induced moods last is a critical question for mood research, but has been only poorly addressed to date. In particular, physiological parameters have rarely been included to assess the effectiveness of mood induction procedures. We investigated the persistence of four different moods (positive high-arousal, positive low-arousal, negative high-arousal, and negative low-arousal) induced by film clips during a computer task. We measured subjective affective state, respiration, skin conductance level (SCL), heart rate, and corrugator activity. People who watched the two negative clips reported more negative valence after the task and showed more facial frowning and lower SCL during the task than people who watched the two positive clips. No arousal effects persisted throughout the task. The results suggest that induced changes in the valence dimension of moods are maintained throughout an intervening task and are physiologically best reflected by corrugator activity and SCL, whereas induced changes in the arousal dimension dissipate quickly. The implications of these findings for mood research are discussed.