Stimulus Evaluation in the Eye of the Beholder: Big Five Personality Traits Explain Variance in Normed Picture Sets


  • Moritz Ingendahl Orcid
  • Tobias Vogel Orcid


The use of normed picture sets has become the gold standard in the study of affect, emotion, or attitudes. However, normed picture sets not only show the intended variance between pictures, but for each picture, normed ratings also show substantial variance between persons. Here, we examine whether interindividual variance in the pictures’ evaluations is systematic and associated with personality traits. In a large-scale preregistered study, a heterogeneous sample of English- and German-speaking participants (total N = 901) completed a Big Five questionnaire and evaluated pictures of positive, neutral, and negative average valence from the OASIS database. The findings show that self-reported Neuroticism, Extraversion, and Agreeableness are associated with individual differences in picture evaluations, which supports and extends previous theorizing on personality and affect. Our results suggest that individual differences observed in paradigms employing valenced pictures may come from individual differences in picture evaluations rather than the processes under study.