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physiological or behavioral measure

Emotional response can be measured in at least three different systems – affective reports, physiological reactivity, and overt behavioral acts (Lang, 1969). Choosing a physiological or behavioral measure can be relatively easy, in that technology or methodology will often dictate a clear preference. Selecting among the available affective report measures is a daunting task, however, as literally dozens of affect inventories exist. A provocative thread running through the history of psychology has interesting implications for the difficult question of what to assess when measuring people’s reports of internal feeling states. This thread is the fact that differences in affective meaning among stimuli – words, objects, events – can succinctly be described by three basic dimensions that Wundt (1896) originally labelled lust (pleasure), spannung (tension), and beruhigung (inhibition). Following Wundt’s theoretical categories, empirical work has repeatedly confirmed that pleasure, arousal, and dominance are pervasive in organizing human judgments for a wide range of perceptual and symbolic stimuli.