Recommendations for Film Stimuli


I would like to stitch a bunch of film clips (from the Stanford Affective Film Library) together with rest and abstract film segments from Inscapes. This is my first attempt at this.

I am currently wrestling with issues regarding length of clips, fading vs fixation between clips, whether to have a single continuous rest, and ordering. Are there other film features I should be worried about? Maybe things such as brightness/luminance uniformity? Has anyone experimented with button-pressing to ensure attention? How about eye-tracking?

Also, would love to hear what software people are using to put their film stimuli together. I’m currently exploring PsychoPy which has a few methods for modifying MovieStims.

Oh and last but not least, are there firm recommendations for pulse sequences?

Thank you!!


Hey @seldamat,

Full disclosure: probably not the helpful answer you’re looking for.

I’m pretty sure you’re already aware of the Study Forrest project?
The corresponding website and publications might provide some information/hints wrt sequences, film features (e.g., here and here), eye tracking, etc. .
Their respective (psychopy) scripts for the different parts of the project are also online and can be found here.

For some projects I build upon their exemplary work, also presenting movie stimuli, but this was “only” to keep participants awake while they were listening to auditory stimuli. More precisely, it was a nature documentation that was cut into several segments and presented for the complete duration of one run (roughly 9 minutes) in a continuous manner. While creating the movie segments, scenes containing very “graphical material” (dying baby animals, etc. …nature, eh?) were left out. Psychopy did a good job presenting the movie and audio stimuli at the same time and didn’t produce any delays other than the usual ones you might get. Then again, the movie stimuli weren’t the target.

HTH at least somehow.

Best, Peer

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Thank you Peer! I am familiar with Study Forrest but your links are very helpful.

Two Questions

  • What sort of audio system do you have in place? Are you able to effectively cancel out scanner noise?
  • Were your nature documentary segments stitched together or were there transitions/fades between each clip?

Hey @seldamat,

sorry for the late reply.

We have an HP VS03 from mr confon which does a good job for us. They’re over-ear headphones and we do let participants wear earplugs, additionally placing foam pads between the headphones and the coil. People do slightly complain that after 45 min - 1 h it’s getting kinda uncomfortable, but always say that they could properly hear the stimuli, no matter if different music genres or spoken sentences. From my own experience, I do think they work very well, but the scanner noise is still perceptible (however, to a small extent). What would “effectively” be for you?

The clips were continuous movie segments cut to the lengths of our runs (roughly 9 minutes). After each run the movie clips also stopped and with the beginning of a new run a new 9 minute movie segment started.