How to push someone's buttons: a comparison of four anger-induction methods

J. Lobbestael*, A.R. Arntz, R.W. Wiers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This study compared the effects of four ways of inducing anger: film, stress interview, punishment, and harassment. Sixty-four healthy participants were randomly assigned to one of these conditions. Effects were examined by means of self-report and physiological measures (blood pressure, heart rate, skin conductance level, and skin conductance response). All four methods produced comparable levels of self-reported anger, while harassment and interview produced the largest cardiovascular effects, and electrodermal activity increased more in reaction to harassment, interview, and punishment conditions compared to film. Thus, physiological reactivity was especially increased by anger-induction methods that included personal contact (harassment and interview). Regarding specificity of self-reported emotions, fear and frustration were the only emotions out of nine non-target emotions that increased in comparable degree to anger following film, interview, and punishment, while harassment produced more self-reported anger than fear. Possible explanations and further recommendations are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-373
JournalCognition & Emotion
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008

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