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Researchers Creating Database of Photos That Elicit Human Emotions



Researchers at the University of Leuven in Belgium are embarking on an interesting mission, and they need the help of willing photographers. What they’re attempting to do is create a database of photos based on how they make the viewer feel. The project and website, dubbed Pictures With Feelings, can then be used to further our knowledge about human emotion and how specific moods come about. Where you folks come is in providing the most emotionally stimulating images buried in your archives.

“A picture depicting a huge spider is likely to evoke a feeling of fear and is therefore situated within the left upper quadrant (negative valence – high arousal).”

The researchers want a little bit of everything, or as they define it: photos that evoke emotions from all over the “valence-arousal space.” Pictures of sleepy puppies would evoke happiness and contentment — positive valence, low arousal. Pictures from inside the pipe at a surfing competition, or staring into the mouth of a shark would evoke something closer to fear and excitement — negative valence, high arousal.

“A picture depicting a sleepy kitten is likely to evoke relaxation and contentment and is therefore situated within the right lower quadrant (positive valence – low arousal)”

You can head over to their website to check out their Terms & Conditions and maybe upload a few tear-jerkers or smile-inducers of your own. You’ll be credited for the photo, you’re promised the images won’t be used for anything other than research, and if you really want some piece of mind, you can even add your name to the metadata. It’s certainly not going to lead to fame and fortune, but you’ll be able to say that your pictures helped some scientists in Belgium better understand what makes people tick. What more could a photog want this Holiday season?

Pictures With Feelings [via Popular Photography]

Image credits: spider by cheetah100, Sleepy Kitten by puuikibeach