The Geneva affective picture database (GAPED): a new 730-picture database focusing on valence and normative significance

Behav Res Methods. 2011 Jun;43(2):468-77. doi: 10.3758/s13428-011-0064-1.


In emotional research, efficient designs often rely on successful emotion induction. For visual stimulation, the only reliable database available so far is the International Affective Picture System (IAPS). However, extensive use of these stimuli lowers the impact of the images by increasing the knowledge that participants have of them. Moreover, the limited number of pictures for specific themes in the IAPS database is a concern for studies centered on a specific emotion thematic and for designs requiring a lot of trials from the same kind (e.g., EEG recordings). Thus, in the present article, we present a new database of 730 pictures, the Geneva Affective PicturE Database, which was created to increase the availability of visual emotion stimuli. Four specific negative contents were chosen: spiders, snakes, and scenes that induce emotions related to the violation of moral and legal norms (human rights violation or animal mistreatment). Positive and neutral pictures were also included: Positive pictures represent mainly human and animal babies as well as nature sceneries, whereas neutral pictures mainly depict inanimate objects. The pictures were rated according to valence, arousal, and the congruence of the represented scene with internal (moral) and external (legal) norms. The constitution of the database and the results of the picture ratings are presented.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arousal*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Emotions*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Visual Perception