Can you tell me the emotions you experience right now? This question is somewhat harder. Decades of research have worked on figuring out which questions can give the most appropriate answers to this question. Nonetheless, there is no “gold standard” for assessing emotional experiences.
Therefore, we did not simply start to ask: What emotions does others’ need elicit?
First, we had to ask: How can we measure emotions elicited by our stimuli best?
This question has yielded two lines of new research:
- How do adults’ ratings of their pleasant and unpleasant feelings relate to their ratings of sadness versus happiness and arousal?
- How can we ask children about their subjective emotions in an appropriate way?
Having answered both questions (as far as research can ever yield an “answer”), we then came back to the initial question: What emotions does help-related content elicit? Yes, this question is way broader than the one initially posed. It expands the scope of our research to the perception of the act of helping. Like this, we hope to illuminate the complete emotional path from experiencing others need for help until their need is relieved – by a change in situation or by the help of others.