PDSTD - The Portsmouth Dynamic Spontaneous Tears Database

Dennis Küster*, Marc Baker, Eva G. Krumhuber

*Corresponding author for this work

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The vast majority of research on human emotional tears has relied on posed and static stimulus materials. In this paper, we introduce the Portsmouth Dynamic Spontaneous Tears Database (PDSTD), a free resource comprising video recordings of 24 female encoders depicting a balanced representation of sadness stimuli with and without tears. Encoders watched a neutral film and a self-selected sad film and reported their emotional experience for 9 emotions. Extending this initial validation, we obtained norming data from an independent sample of naïve observers (N = 91, 45 females) who watched videos of the encoders during three time phases (neutral, pre-sadness, sadness), yielding a total of 72 validated recordings. Observers rated the expressions during each phase on 7 discrete emotions, negative and positive valence, arousal, and genuineness. All data were analyzed by means of general linear mixed modelling (GLMM) to account for sources of random variance. Our results confirm the successful elicitation of sadness, and demonstrate the presence of a tear effect, i.e., a substantial increase in perceived sadness for spontaneous dynamic weeping. To our knowledge, the PDSTD is the first database of spontaneously elicited dynamic tears and sadness that is openly available to researchers. The stimuli can be accessed free of charge via OSF from https://osf.io/uyjeg/?view_only=24474ec8d75949ccb9a8243651db0abf.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2678-2692
Number of pages15
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Early online date16 Dec 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2022


  • facial expression
  • emotion
  • dynamic
  • database
  • sadness
  • crying


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