Measuring the duration of emotional experience: the influence of actual duration and response format

Philippe Verduyn*, Francis Tuerlinckx, Kirsty Van Gorp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In a number of retrospective studies it has been found that the duration of emotional experience is highly variable and several determinants that account for this variability have been identified. However, two issues that may have consequences for the measurement of emotion duration have been left unaddressed. First, it is unclear whether people are capable of remembering the duration of their actual emotional experience. Second, it is uncertain whether estimates of the duration of emotional experience are influenced by the format of the response scale. Participants watched joy- and sadness-sustaining movie fragments of different durations. At the end of the day they were asked to estimate the duration of each fragment or the duration of their emotions during each fragment on a relatively short-range or long-range scale. Regardless of whether fragment or emotion duration was estimated, estimates were (a) largely accurate and (b) higher on long-range compared to short-range scales.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2557-2567
Number of pages11
JournalQuality & Quantity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotion duration
  • Measurement
  • Accuracy
  • Response format
  • Scale range
  • Non-linear categorical data analysis
  • TIME

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