Which emotions are best?
People often ask us – which emotions are best? What should my content elicit? The answer is more complex than you’d think. We consider a hierarchy of outcomes from ineffective, to ideal:
- The least effective content will produce no emotional response at all.
- Any emotional response at all is better than none.
- An activating emotion (i.e., arousing; not sadness) is preferable.
- Then, an activating emotion with high positivity (i.e., not fear or disgust).
- Of the activating, positive emotions, surprise is best.
- Surprise + another emotion is ideal: it creates then maintains engagement.