The Positive Side of Eliciting Negative Emotions: Survey Results of Visitor Responses to a Library Exhibit

Meg Frost, Caitlyn Towne-Anderson, Kendal Ferguson


Eliciting emotions, particularly uncomfortable emotions, through exhibition design can have a positive impact on the patrons’ reception of the exhibition. In this study, patrons visiting an exhibition designed to create a dark and macabre atmosphere were given an exit survey asking them to identify and rate the intensity of the emotions they felt during the experience. The survey also assessed visitor likelihood of returning to view the exhibition again. In general, visitors who recorded feeling negative emotions while viewing the exhibition were significantly more likely to visit multiple times than those who did not.

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