Utilizing Neutral Affective States in Research: Theory, Assessment, and Recommendations

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31 Scopus citations


Even though researchers regularly use neutral affect induction procedures (AIPs) as a control condition in their work, there is little consensus on what is neutral affect. This article reviews five approaches that researchers have used to operationalize neutral AIPs: to produce a(n) (a) minimal affective state, (b) in-the-middle state, (c) deactivated state, (d) typical state, or (e) indifferent state. For each view, the article delineates the theoretical basis for the neutral AIP, how to assess it, and provides recommendations for when and how to use it. The goal of the article is to encourage researchers to state their theoretical assumptions about neutral affect, to validate those assumptions, and to make appropriate conclusions based on them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)255-266
Number of pages12
JournalEmotion Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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