Anger Framed: A Field Study on Emotion, Pleasure, and Art

Valentin Wagner, Julian Klein, Julian Hanich, Mira Shah, Winfried Menninghaus, Thomas Jacobsen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    We investigated cognitive “art schema” effects—as resulting from framing a situation as one of art reception—on the enjoyability of negative emotions by means of an elaborate disguised anger induction in the field. Because situations of both art reception and participation in lab experiments are typically safe and have a reduced bearing on personal relevance and goal conduciveness, the goal of this design was to prevent predicted effects of the art framing from being confounded with potentially convergent effects of the lab situation. For one group of participants, the anger-inducing treatment was framed as an aptitude test developed by a recruitment firm, for a second group the same treatment was framed as a theater performance. Self-reports of emotional states and blood pressure data showed evidence for the effectiveness of both the anger induction and the framing of the situation. The data expand previous findings that activating an art schema is instrumental for more positive responses to being involved in negative emotions in a threefold fashion: (a)
    through the higher ecological validity of the experimental design used, (b) through implementing an entire live theater performance instead of presenting single pictures or film clips only, and (c) through using anger as the target emotion.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
    Publication statusPublished - 14-Dec-2015


    • anger
    • paradox of tragedy
    • art schema
    • real-life emotion induction,
    • emotion

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