Motivational Objects in Natural Scenes (MONS): A Database of >800 Objects
In daily life, we are surrounded by objects with pre-existing motivational associations. However, these are rarely controlled for in experiments with natural stimuli. Research on natural stimuli would therefore benefit from stimuli with well-defined motivational properties; in turn, such stimuli also open new paths in research on motivation. Here ... we introduce a database of Motivational Objects in Natural Scenes (MONS). The database consists of 116 scenes. Each scene contains 2 to 7 objects placed at approximately equal distance from the scene center. Each scene was photographed creating 3 versions, with one object ( critical object ) being replaced to vary the overall motivational value of the scene (appetitive, aversive, neutral), while maintaining high visual similarity between the three versions. Ratings on motivation, valence, arousal and recognizability were obtained using internet-based questionnaires. Since the main objective was to provide stimuli of well-defined motivational value, three motivation scales were used: (1) Desire to own the object; (2) Approach/Avoid; (3) Desire to interact with the object. Three sets of ratings were obtained in independent sets of observers: for all 805 objects presented on a neutral background, for 348 critical objects presented in their scene context, and for the entire scenes. On the basis of the motivational ratings, objects were subdivided into aversive, neutral, and appetitive categories. The MONS database will provide a standardized basis for future studies on motivational value under realistic conditions.