Multidimensional normative ratings for the International Affective Picture System

Behav Res Methods. 2007 May;39(2):326-34. doi: 10.3758/bf03193164.


The purpose of the present investigation was to replicate and extend the International Affective Picture System norms (Ito, Cacioppo, & Lang, 1998; Lang, Bradley, & Cuthbert, 1999). These norms were developed to provide researchers with photographic slides that varied in emotional evocation, especially arousal and valence. In addition to collecting rating data on the dimensions of arousal and valence, we collected data on the dimensions of consequentiality, meaningfulness, familiarity, distinctiveness, and memorability. Furthermore, we collected ratings on the primary emotions of happiness, surprise, sadness, anger, disgust, and fear. A total of 1,302 participants were tested in small groups. The participants in each group rated a subset of 18 slides on 14 dimensions. Ratings were obtained on 703 slides. The means and standard deviations for all of the ratings are provided. We found our valence ratings to be similar to the previous norms. In contrast, our participants were more likely to rate the slides as less arousing than in the previous norms. The mean ratings on the remaining 12 dimensions were all below the midpoint of the 9-point Likert scale. However, sufficient variability in ratings across the slides indicates that selecting slides on the basis of these variables is feasible. Overall, the present ratings should allow investigators to use these norms for research purposes, especially in research dealing with the interrelationships among emotion and cognition. The means and standard deviations for emotions may be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet from

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect*
  • Arousal
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pattern Recognition, Visual
  • Photic Stimulation / methods*
  • Psychometrics / standards*
  • Reference Standards
  • Terminology as Topic*