Behavioral Experience-Sampling Methods in Neuroimaging Studies With Movie and Narrative Stimuli

Iiro P. Jääskeläinen, Jyrki Ahveninen, Vasily Klucharev, Anna N. Shestakova, Jonathan Levy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Movies and narratives are increasingly utilized as stimuli in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), magnetoencephalography (MEG), and electroencephalography (EEG) studies. Emotional reactions of subjects, what they pay attention to, what they memorize, and their cognitive interpretations are all examples of inner experiences that can differ between subjects during watching of movies and listening to narratives inside the scanner. Here, we review literature indicating that behavioral measures of inner experiences play an integral role in this new research paradigm via guiding neuroimaging analysis. We review behavioral methods that have been developed to sample inner experiences during watching of movies and listening to narratives. We also review approaches that allow for joint analyses of the behaviorally sampled inner experiences and neuroimaging data. We suggest that building neurophenomenological frameworks holds potential for solving the interrelationships between inner experiences and their neural underpinnings. Finally, we tentatively suggest that recent developments in machine learning approaches may pave way for inferring different classes of inner experiences directly from the neuroimaging data, thus potentially complementing the behavioral self-reports.

Original languageEnglish
Article number813684
JournalFrontiers in Human Neuroscience
StatePublished - 27 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Jääskeläinen, Ahveninen, Klucharev, Shestakova and Levy.


IJ, VK, and AS were supported by the International Laboratory of Social Neurobiology ICN HSE RF Government Grant Ag. No. 075-15-2019-1930. JA was supported by the National Institutes of Health (Grant Nos. R01DC016915, R01DC016765, and R01DC017991). JL was supported by the Academy of Finland (Grant No. 328674).

FundersFunder number
National Institutes of HealthR01DC016765, R01DC017991, R01DC016915
Academy of Finland328674


    • attention
    • emotion
    • language
    • memory
    • movies
    • narratives
    • naturalistic stimuli
    • social cognition


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