General Tests of Emotion or Affect for Evaluating Consumer Reactions to Products and Services, Including User Interface

Uses of the PAD Emotion Scales in Consumer Research
The PAD Emotion Scales, when used in the software package, supply a highly useful and convenient assessment of consumer emotional reactions to services, products, or combinations of products and services. Within the software, each object of evaluation (e.g., automobile, electronic product such as a camera or stereo component, particular packaging idea, advertisement, web site, call center, shoe model, store decor, corporate culture, work supervision structure) is given a unique stimulus number or ID. Reactions of 50-100 consumers are obtained to each stimulus of interest. For example, consumer reactions might be obtained to two different digital camera models, to an automobile under development and a competitor's automobile model, three different advertisements under consideration, or to different names under consideration for a particular product.

The software averages responses of consumers to each stimulus and thus quickly and easily highlights differences in consumer emotional reactions to the stimuli being compared. Averages of the three basic pleasure (P), arousal (A), and dominance (D) values (scores) supplied by the software for each stimulus yield common-sense and meaningful data for evaluating and redesigning any stimulus. Most importantly, to help users understand obtained results, the software offers a short list of emotion labels (e.g., excited, bored, upset) that most closely approximate the emotional reactions of consumers to a particular stimulus.

Comparison of products or services on pleasure-displeasure are fundamental for understanding consumer preferences and/or satisfaction. Comparisons on arousal-nonarousal show how products or services might differ in terms of how much alertness and/or physical activity they elicit from consumers. For instance, color schemes or decor of a store can be made to increase or decrease arousal of customers. And, whereas high arousal might be in line with consumer expectations and preferences in some stores, the opposite could be the case for other types of shopping environments. Additionally, dominance-submissiveness reactions of consumers to services could shed light on the quality of consumer experience. For instance, a pampered consumer would report submissiveness, pleasure, and low arousal; an excited consumer would report dominance, pleasure, and high arousal; an upset consumer would report submissiveness, displeasure, and high arousal. Importantly, dominance may be the desired consumer reaction for some, whereas submissiveness may be the preferred reaction in other, service or product situations. Or, and even more importantly, PAD constellations expected by consumers might depend on consumer income and age levels.

The PAD Emotion software can be used not only to study consumer reactions to specific products or services, but also to obtain consumer expectations about those products or services. Such expectations can be obtained for targeted groups differing in age, income, or educational categories. Also, once such PAD reactions (or expectations) are obtained for any specific product or service, the PAD values should help provide guidelines on ways in which a product or service can be modified to enhance consumer preferences and satisfaction.

Available Translations of the PAD Emotion Scales and Software
The PAD Emotion Scales and Software are currently available in Spanish and German.

Uses of the PAD Emotion Scales to Evaluate Corporate Culture
An important application of the PAD Emotion Scales is in their use to quickly and easily measure the emotional climate created by corporate cultures. The scales can be used to ascertain employee emotional reactions to the conditions within their specific work groups, the broader divisions in which they are employed, their reactions to supervisory policies, reactions to co-workers, and so forth. There is considerable versatility in targeting the PAD toward any specific aspect of the corporate environment and the way in which that environment typically influences everyday emotions (feelings, affect) of workers.

Pinpointing the emotional impact of corporate culture can be critical for understanding levels of worker satisfaction, morale, absenteeism, or productivity. The Mehrabian Worker Satisfaction Scale (WSS) can be used along with the PAD Emotion Scales to investigate relations among the Pleasure, Arousal, and Dominance dimensions of the PAD with worker reports of their levels of satisfaction.

Understanding and measuring corporate culture in R&D institutions is crucial for improving productivity, but may appear particularly difficult to measure. However, when such cultures are examined within the PAD framework, it is not only easy to conceptualize and inexpensively assess those cultures, but also to do so in a way that allows workers to provide confidential responses so that results won't be contaminated by worker apprehensions about supplying honest, negative reports.

Use of the PAD Emotion Scales to Evaluate User Interface of Products & Software
The PAD Emotion Scales readily lend themselves to the evaluation of user interface effectiveness of products and software. Products burdened with unnecessary "bells & whistles" are more likely to elicit distress and frustration, than excitement and enthusiasm. Suggestions regarding product and software interface design given in the following two links can be augmented and tested by using the PAD Emotion Scales.

Uses of the PAD Emotion Scales to Generate Display Figures and Robots that Express Human Emotions
The PAD Emotion Software lends itself easily to the task of testing for and configuring display figures (e.g., stick figures, cartoon characters, standardized computer-generated displays) or three dimensional forms (e.g., robots, toys) to express precise human emotions through computer-generated commands.

I will only outline the requirements for such a project. First, a standard set of figures (or standard set of moving parts of a three-dimensional form) is required. In the case of two-dimensional displays, for instance, a figure can be displayed with discrete ranges of movements or positions assigned to arms, legs, torso, face, and position relative to another entity. For an easy example, imagine a stick figure being displayed in multiple discrete conditions (e.g., arms hanging, arms partially raised forward, arms partially raised sideways, arms raised to horizontal position sideways, etc.; neck bent down at 90 degrees, neck bent down at 45 degrees, etc.; torso vertical, torso bent forward at 15 degrees, torso bent forward at 30 degrees, etc.; eyebrows in normal position, eyebrows raised slightly, eyebrows raised to maximum height, etc.; seated leaning forward, seated upright, seated leaning back at 15 degrees, etc.).

Discrete figures can then be generated using various combinations of the preceding positions (e.g., arms partially raised forward, torso leaning forward, neck bent down). Considering that very large numbers of combinations will be possible, intuitive judgments will be needed to select the most meaningful combinations of positions for the figures. Even then, the possible number of figure positions can easily run into the hundreds.

Once a set of figure positions is available and each of these positions can be generated and displayed individually with a computer program, then the PAD Emotion Scales software can be used to ascertain the emotional impact of each figure position. This is the most labor intensive part of the project and will require at least a sample of 50 respondents to independently use the PAD software to score the emotion conveyed by each figure position. However, once the P, A, and D values (generated by the software) corresponding to each figure position are available, it will constitute a very rich substrate of powerful tools for inducing human-like expressions in the figures. Discrete emotion labels (e.g., angry, disdainful, tired, confused) will constitute the input to the computer program. The program will search its database for figure positions that emit the required PAD values for that particular emotion and will then move the two-dimensional figure or three-dimensional robot to the position that corresponds to that PAD combination. Considering that these computer operations will be performed within fractions of a second, display figures will be able to respond to commands and express human-like emotions varying in nuance rapidly and easily.

The labor-intensive segment of obtaining respondent ratings using the PAD software can also be computerized. Participants at multiple stations can view computer monitors that display each figure position. Participants will rate the emotion projected by each position using the PAD software. Estimated time required for rating each position is about 7-10 minutes. Each participant can rate the figure positions at his/her own pace. The software includes features that allow formation of a database to record averaged emotion scores for data obtained from different computer stations.

As a cautionary note, the procedures outlined above can be undertaken only by projects that are both ambitious and adequately funded. We will be available for consultation to such projects.

The PAD Emotion Scales: General Background and Definitions
The theoretical rationale and experimental foundations for the PAD Emotional State Model have been detailed by Mehrabian (1980, 1995, 1997). The Model consists of three nearly independent dimensions that are used to describe and measure emotional states (or feelings, affective conditions): pleasure- displeasure, arousal-nonarousal, and dominance-submissiveness. "Pleasure-displeasure" distinguishes the positive-negative affective quality of emotional states, "arousal-nonarousal" refers to a combination of physical activity and mental alertness, and "dominance-submissiveness" is defined in terms of control versus lack of control.

Importance of using all three of the pleasure, arousal, and dominance dimensions (versus using the pleasure and arousal dimensions only) has been amply demonstrated in research dealing with consumer retail environments. In particular, the review of Yani-de-Soriano and Foxall (2006) has highlighted the critical role of dominance-submissiveness for understanding consumer behaviors.

Specific terms describing emotions can be visualized as points in a three-dimensional PAD emotion space. Alternatively, when the PAD scale scores are standardized, each emotion term can be described succinctly in terms of its values on the pleasure-displeasure, arousal-nonarousal, and dominance-submissiveness axes. The following sample ratings illustrate definitions of various emotion terms when scores on each PAD scale range from -1 to +1: angry (-.51, .59, .25), bored (-.65, -.62, -.33), curious (.22, .62, -.01), dignified (.55, .22, .61), elated (.50, .42, .23), hungry (-.44, .14, -.21), inhibited (-.54, -.04, -.41), loved (.87, .54, -.18), puzzled (-.41, .48, -.33), sleepy (.20, -.70, -.44), unconcerned (-.13, -.41, .08), violent (-.50, .62, .38).

Thus, according to ratings given for "angry," it is a highly unpleasant, highly aroused, and moderately dominant emotional state. "Sleepy" consists of a moderately pleasant, extremely unaroused, and moderately submissive state, whereas "bored" is composed of highly unpleasant, highly unaroused, and moderately submissive components.

Use of the PAD Emotion Scales for Assessment of Specific Emotions: Within the PAD Model, there are eight basic and common varieties of emotion, as defined by all possible combinations of high versus low pleasure (+P and -P), high versus low arousl (+A and -A) and high versus low dominance (+D and -D). Thus, for instance, Anxious (-P+A-D) states include feeling aghast, bewildered, distressed, in pain, insecure, or upset; hostile (-P+A+D) states include feeling angry, catty, defiant, insolent, and nasty; and exuberant (+P+A+D) states include feeling admired, bold, carefree, excited, mighty, and triumphant.

The PAD Emotion Scales Manual provides detailed and straightforward instructions for calculating highly representative scores for each of the eight most common variants of emotional state. The software for the scales calculates the eight basic emotion scores described in the preceding paragrah. In addition, the test manual provides instructions for calculation of highly specific emotions (e.g., feeling empathic, optimistic). Guidance regarding computation of other emotional states from the PAD scores can be obtained from Albert Mehrabian.

Windows Software for the Full-Length PAD Emotion Scales
Windows software for administering, scoring, and interpreting the full-length PAD Emotion Scales is available. It runs on IBM-compatible machines.

The PAD Emotion Software does a good deal of computational work. Besides supplying the P, A, and D scores and z-scores, it derives 8 basic emotion scores (e.g., relaxed, anxious, exuberant) and then ranks those scores (giving you the top ranked and bottom ranked emotions) for each case you test. In other words, it generates a list of 8 basic emotion terms that are closest to (or alternatively, furthest apart from) the emotion reported by each participant to a specific stimulus. Additionally, the software provides group results for all individuals who have rated their emotional reaction to the same stimulus (or situation). In this way, the software can be used to evaluate differences in averaged reactions of your respondents to different products, services, or any combination of products and services (e.g., electronic device, clothing, store environment, call center handling of consumer inquires, advertisements, web sites).

The software have several additional useful features of which some are noted here. For example, it allows you to export the data as an ASCII DOS TEXT file (.txt) that you can print. It also will export a spreadsheet file (.csv) for additional analyses, e.g., with Excel. Conversely, the software will allow importing of data from various testing sites so that data obtained from several locations can be combined into a single file, thereby providing a quick summary of averaged reactions of respondents to stimuli.

The software is easy to use and is password protected so that the Administrator can control access to the database of results. In this way, individuals being tested cannot have access to the results, unless the Administrator chooses to report such results to them.

Scale Description for the Full-Length PAD Emotion Scales: Format, Sample Items, Features
The full-length PAD Emotion scales should be used when precise assessments of emotions are needed. These scales include:
Items of these three scales are intermixed within a 34-item inventory to minimize subject awareness of the scale dimensions, thereby enhancing validity. For each item, respondent place a check-mark in one of nine spaces separating two adjectives to indicate how they feel in a specific situation.

Scale Description for the Abbreviated PAD Emotion Scales: Format, Sample Items, Features
Experimenters are sometimes compelled to use abbreviated scales because respondents are required to rate a large number of stimuli. Accordingly, a 12-item abbreviated version of the PAD Emotion Scales also has been prepared. When respondents rate multiple stimuli, rating of the very first stimulus takes three to five minutes because some time is required to read the test instructions. Each of subsequent stimuli can be rated in two to three minutes.

An additional and very important feature of the abbreviated scales is that the adjective pairs used are easy to understand. This makes the scales suitable for large-scale commercial and survey applications where respondents have a limited vocabulary (e.g., testing the emotional impact of a feature length film, television advertisement, shop or shopping mall, musical recording, political advertisement, personal image projected by a political candidate). These scales include:

Items of these three scales are intermixed within a 12-item inventory to minimize subject awareness of the scale dimensions, thereby enhancing validity. For each item, subjects place a check-mark in one of nine spaces separating two adjectives to indicate how they feel in a specific situation.

Reliability and Validity Data
Alpha internal consistency coefficients were .97 for the full-length State Pleasure Scale, .89 for the full-length State Arousal Scale, and .80 for the full-length State Dominance Scale (Mehrabian, 1995). Alpha internal consistency/reliability coefficients for the abbreviated State Pleasure, State Arousal, and State Dominance scales, based on a sample of 798 observations, were .95, .83, and .78, respectively.

Additional reliability data plus extensive discussion of validity data are given in the scale manual (Mehrabian, 1998).

Work by Gordon Foxall and his colleagues (e.g., Foxall & Greenley, 1998; Soriano, Foxall & Pearson, 2002) illustrates the value of the PAD Emotion Model and scales for understanding consumer behaviors and preferences.

Key Articles on the PAD Emotion Scales
If you are unable to obtain any of these important articles bearing on the PAD Emotion Scales, contact Albert Mehrabian to get Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files:

Foxall, G.R., & Greenley, G. (1998). Thee affective structure of consumer situations. Environment and Behavior, 30, 781-798.

Mehrabian, A. (1980). Basic dimensions for a general psychological theory: Implications for personality, social, environmental, and developmental studies. Oelgeschlager, Gunn & Hain, Cambridge, MA.

Mehrabian, A. (1995). Framework for a comprehensive description and measurement of emotional states. Genetic, Social, and General Psychology Monographs, 121, 339-361.

Mehrabian, A. (1996). Pleasure-arousal-dominance: A general framework for describing and measuring individual differences in temperament. Current Psychology: Developmental, Learning, Personality, Social, 14, 261-292.

Mehrabian, A. (1997). Comparison of the PAD and PANAS as models for describing emotions and for differentiating anxiety from depression. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 19, 331-357.

Mehrabian, A. (1998). Manual for a comprehensive system of measures of emotional states: The PAD Model. (Available from Albert Mehrabian, 1130 Alta Mesa Road, Monterey, CA, USA 93940).

Osgood, C.E., Suci, G.J., & Tannenbaum, P.H. (1957). The measurement of meaning. Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press.

Soriano, M.Y., Foxall, G.R., & Pearson, G.J. (2002). Emotion and environment: A test of the behavioural perspective model in a Latin American context. Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 2, 138-154.

Yani-de-Soriano, M.M., & Foxall, G.R. (2006). The emotional power of place: The fall and rise of dominance in retail research. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 13, 403-416.


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