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Emotion Control

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Controlling emotions is quite different from regular mind control. It lets you toy with people, brainwash them, and in some cases get a lot of result from much less effort than actual mind control demands.

The Super-Trope of Emotion Bomb and Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, a character who can do Emotion Control often has one or both of these powers in their toolbox. Emotion Bomb itself has a Sub-Trope in Supernatural Fear Inducer, where the control is over fear alone.

However, actual Emotion Control generally demands far more subtlety then simply flooding someone with emotions or stimulating someone. While these latter are mostly combat and incapacitation super powers, Emotion Control is more about social effects and long-term brainwashing.

Unlike the subtropes, Emotion Control does not necessarily require magic, superpowers or supertech. It can also be done by an extremely manipulative character or by mundane brainwashing techniques, making it More than Mind Control. Most Emotion Eaters and higher-end versions of The Empath have this as a Required Secondary Power. Compare Mind Virus. Not to be confused with Emotion Suppression, in which one keeps one's own emotions under control.


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    Comic Books 
  • Brain Boy, who appeared in Four Color and a self-titled comic series, has the power to alter people's emotional states.
  • The Justice Society of America villain Psycho-Pirate has alternately either had the Medusa Mask that allowed him to project emotions into people or has been an "emotion vampire", able to drain emotions from people. The first mask often seems to work through intensifying emotions a person already feels, no matter how small.
  • Marvel Universe:
    • The Captain America villain Hate-Monger used to have to use a "Hate-Ray" to project hate, anger and fear into people... but after he died and was resurrected, he was able to do the same without the ray. Oh, also he's Adolf Hitler.
    • The Fantastic Four villain Psycho-Man uses an emotion-controlling device that can instill fear, doubt and hatred. In one arc, he builds a new Hate-Monger, a Humanshifting android who infiltrates various hate groups in different disguises to spread a Hate Plague.
    • This is the mutant power of Manual "Empath" de la Rocha of the Hellions from New Mutants.
    • When the Terrigan Cloud starts empowered humans with latent Inhuman ancestry, two Nuhumans end up with this. One, Swain, also ends up with a prehensile tail, and the other, Romeo, is mainly notable for dating the teenage version of Iceman.

    Fan Works 
  • In ⫚ - His Daughters, The Miracles of the family, Eva's gift is the ability to control other people's emotions.
  • In Forward (Peptuck), this is what the "Inducer" class of psychics are capable of, coupled with more outright mind control and the periodic Emotion Bomb. One of them uses these abilities to take over an entire village and turn them into a killer mob, and later causes an entire space station of hundreds of people to turn on each other in a murderous fury. The same Inducer also uses these powers to Mind Rape River and turn her into an effective bodyguard/human shield.
  • Done very subtly by Mindy to Ringo in The Keys Stand Alone: The Soft World. She wants him to abandon the others and embrace the Guardians. It almost works....
  • In Pokémon: The Great Adventure, it is revealed to be one of Ash's empathic powers and the way he can tame some of the Pokémon he meets. The Heart Flute amplifies it, and it is implied he can also do it on non-Pokémon beings.
  • In War and Peace in Mind, this is the power of Warren's mother, Joy Peace a.k.a. the Peacemaker, one of the world's greatest superhuman diplomats.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The City of Lost Children, the former circus act Marcello can invoke homicidal rage out of people with a combination of Mind control music and injected poison carried by his flea minion unto the unsuspecting targets.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3: Mantis, The Empath, weaponizes her ability to instill emotions in a variety of creative ways over the course of the film. This includes causing a gun-wielding enemy to friendly-fire by making her overcome with rage. Drax is not amused that she induces a crush on him as a means of getting past a security guard.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) includes the "Point of View" gun, which makes whoever you shoot it at see things from your point of view.
  • Mystery Men: Dr. Heller's "Blame Thrower" influences emotions to cause groups of people to argue with each other.
  • Kayla Silverfox from X-Men Origins: Wolverine can control people's minds. A major plot point is whether she used her powers to influence Wolverine's emotions or whether he is truly immune as a result of his own powers.

  • Codex Alera: This is one of the secondary powers granted by some types of crafting. Earthcrafters can calm animals or induce lust, while firecrafters can inspire a broad range of other emotions. However, reading existing emotions is specific to water.
  • In The Curse Workers, Emotion workers can manipulate emotions through touch, and the effects can last for several months. One emotion worker got in serious legal trouble for making several wealthy men fall in love with her. However, people with this ability become emotionally unstable themselves for a time whenever they use their power. The more often they use it, the more unstable their own emotions become.
  • In Heralds of Valdemar, a powerful empath such as Talia can force a person to feel another person's emotions. This is used to great effect when she takes a man who sexually abused his daughter and forces him to relive the event from her perspective and feeling her emotions about it. And it won't stop until he sincerely repents.
  • The Leeshore by Robert Reed has the "wires", which are a simple form of emotional control used by both sides of the conflict. The good guys use it to subtly reinforce certain emotions in their soldiers and ensure loyalty, such as making them more courageous. The enemy use the device to essentially Mind Rape or "conscript" captured civilians soldiers into worshiping their artificial god and the priests; filling the conscript with joy whenever they please the controlling priest, or filling them with blinding rage when they think of their former allies.
  • Magic for Liars has two examples:
    • Ivy suggests Alexandria can do this with magic after witnessing the effects Alexandria has on peers and school staff. The staff have to inform non-magic Ivy of the enormous practical difficulties that render this magic effectively impossible.
    • Ivy herself, though not magic, is such an extraordinary student of psychology that she regularly imposes this on others by acting mysterious or dismissing a target's strengths to draw them out.
  • Mistborn: The Original Trilogy: Soothing and Rioting are powers that allow you to do this — a Rioter can inflame emotions, a Soother can damp them, and a full Mistborn can do both (the Lord Ruler, for example, turned himself into a walking Emotion Bomb, damping all emotions in about a mile radius around him apart from fear and despair). However, a Soother or Rioter can't sense emotions, so they need to be very good at reading people to get the results they want.
  • "The Mule": The titular Mule's Psychic Powers allow him to permanently change people's emotions, such as anger, creativity, fear, loyalty, and even lust. He explains it as like being able to see and adjust a dial in people's minds.
  • Purple Haze Feedback has Vladimir Kocaqui's Stand, Rainy Day Dream Away, which has the power to "lock in" a feeling. When his sister was fatally wounded, he locked a brief moment of happiness, causing her to experience a pleasant Dying Dream; conversely, if someone fighting him feels even the slightest doubt that they can win, he can make that feeling permanent, making it impossible for his opponent to defeat him. This also extends to physical sensations such as loss of balance.
  • Used through social conditioning throughout the Slaveworld series. Also in the form of supertech, but for the first few books, this is limited to Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul.
  • Jasper from The Twilight Saga has this as his vampire power. The implication is that he could do this to non-supernatural levels pre-vamping.
  • Wild Cards has Senator Gregg Hartmann. His ace allows him to manipulate the emotions of those he has touched at least once, but he can only boost or soothe what his targets are feeling at the moment.
  • In Zeroes, Bellwether and Mob both have powers that influence the emotions of others. It's not quite to the degree of mind control, but nonetheless makes them potent at manipulating people by selectively inducing pride or shame, joy or anger.

    Live-Action TV 

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the Champions adventure Wrath of the Seven Horsemen, the supervillain Fear can use his scepter to cause intense terror in everyone within a large area.
  • Changeling: The Lost has the Great Courts of changeling society, with seasonal motifs and a corresponding emotion (Spring = Desire, Summer = Wrath, Autumn = Fear, Winter = Sorrow). Each Court also has a corresponding Contract chain titled "Fleeting [Season]" which involves manipulating said emotion.
  • Exalted: Most Presence and Performance charms have this effect.
  • GURPS: The "Sway Emotions" form of the Enthrallment skill can induce anger, boredom, depression, disgust, fear, greed, hate, jealousy, joy, love, lust, patriotism, peace, sadness, or unrest.
  • Part of Red's portfolio in Magic: The Gathering. After all, one would expect the colour of emotions to have magic manipulating them.
  • In Mutant UA, there are several mind-altering psychic powers: "Påverka" (affect) for Emotion Control, "Skräck" (terror) for Emotion Bomb, and "Dominera" (dominate) for mind control.
  • This is a potential mutant power in Paranoia; the mutant in question may or may not be immune to the effect.

    Video Games 
  • In Judgment Rites, a being of pure emotion known as The Savant kidnaps Spock off the Enterprise and forces him to experience joy. This is speculated by Kirk to be part of the Savant's addiction to that emotion, which it can only feed through other telepathic beings like Spock. Of course, as a Vulcan, Spock's emotions are incredibly powerful and he had spent his entire life trying to suppress them, causing him both joy and agony. There is no explanation as to why the Savant keeps Spock despite this.
  • Legacy of Kain:
    • The series has a lot of Demonic Possession, most of which involve a straight Grand Theft Me and a direct conflict between the host's mind and the possessor's will. However, when Raziel gets possessed by the Hylden after killing and consuming the possessed Turel, the control seems to take this form. Presumably, the reason for this is that he is too strong for those particular Hylden to completely dominate, and if they tried, he would realize they were there and join Kain in fighting them, whereas he apparently remains unaware of them as long as they simply amplify his already-present anger enough to make him impulsive.
    • Kain's "Inspire Hate" spell from Blood Omen is also an example.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Reapers (both in the games and books) have the ability of Indoctrination, which sometimes takes this form. While they are able to completely overpower an organic mind through sheer force of will, the internal conflict stops the host being as effective as they might be. Consequently, with certain victims who might be useful as more than mindless drones, the Reapers are more subtle about it, and simply nudge the host's thoughts and feelings in the right direction. This also weakens the host for when the time comes to completely dominate it.
    • The Leviathans, the race that created the Catalyst which in turn created the Reapers, possess similar mental powers which they used to establish a galactic empire. The Reapers' indoctrination was even based on the Leviathans' power.
  • Mesprit from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl is the god of emotion, and is said to be able to manipulate the emotions of others as a defense mechanism.
  • Touhou Project:
  • X-COM:
    • XCOM: Enemy Unknown: Psionically gifted troopers can optionally use Psi Inspiration at rank 2. It boosts the willpower of those affected and calms down panicked allies.
    • XCOM 2 has Solace, a passive ability of the Psi Operative. It's a mental aura that radiates around the Psi Operative, giving complete immunity against negative mental effectsnote  to anyone within it; it also neutralizes said mental effects if they're moved within Solace radius or the Psi Operative is moved near them.

  • In Alice and the Nightmare, this is the Traumen gift of Hearts, although it works only in dreams.
  • In Alice Grove, the superhuman fighters who were created during the apocalyptic wars prior to the Blink were given mental compulsions to keep them under control. Sedna, who only worked in a support role, is compelled to fix machinery, while Alice and Church, who were apparently front-line soldiers based on their abilities, are compelled to serve others.
  • 'cubi in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures can do a variation on this to other 'cubi who let their guard down, by exploiting their own Emotion Eater abilities against them.
  • Empaths in Drowtales have the ability to manipulate emotions, draw out existing ones, and overcharge them to the point of death. The Drowussu peoples, specifically the Val'Kyorl'solenurn clan, have a huge number of empaths, and they generally serve as either Inquisitors or Seers, the latter which obtain visions by sensing the desires and goals of other drow (early chapters did portray them as genuine Seers, but was later quietly Retconned to a special type of empath). While Inquisitor is a gender-neutral position, Seers among the Kyorls are always female, and the Order of the Holy Eye is populated by women with the ability.
  • Magus from El Goonish Shive has the ability to strongly amplify existing emotions in his targets. Afterward, his targets have splitting headaches and short-term amnesia.
  • MegaTokyo: Miho's character could do this within the Endgames world. It's a matter of much debate of whether she has the ability to do this out of game or not.
  • Moodswing from Mindmistress could do this. It worked even on Mindmistress. It was a Moment of Awesome when MM managed to trick and defeat her, despite being under her control.
  • Malloy from morphE casts an emotional-urging spell on Adrestia in this comic to force her to remain calm after subtly threatening people close to her.

    Web Originals 
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-288 ("The "Stepford Marriage" Rings"): When an appropriate woman wears one of the "female" rings, she displays very few (if any) negative emotions.
    • SCP-708 ("The Big Orange Forklift"): When someone looks at SCP-708 for more than 20 seconds, they become extremely enthusiastic about it and want to operate it. Anyone restrained from operating it will engage in emotional outbursts like a young child. Anyone who has been looking at SCP-708 or has operated it before feels jealousy at seeing anyone else operating it.
  • Frank of the Whateley Universe can't help broadcasting emotions. Frank isn't his name, it's his codename, because you always know what he's feeling. Without his power-limiter helmet, he would be swamping entire sections of the school with his emotions.
  • Worm:
    • Heartbreaker has the ability to instantly cause other people to feel any emotion he wants. His favorite hobby is brainwashing beautiful women into loving him and doing whatever he asks of them.
    • Cherish, Heartbreaker's daughter, inherited her father's emotional manipulation power. She perceives other people's emotions in the form of music. During her Interlude, she claims that she can also make people associate her person with a specific emotion if she manipulates them long enough, as she plans do to with her Slaughterhouse Nine teammates.
    • Gallant can shoot blasts that have kinetic energy behind them but also change the target's emotional status.
    • The Simurgh also has this power, as a result of being the only actual telepath in the setting.

    Western Animation 
  • Danger Mouse: Baron Silas Greenback once used a cornet to heavily influence the titular Danger Mouse's emotions, incapacitating him.
  • In one episode of Fantastic Four: The Animated Series, Reed Richards discovers an element that amplifies human emotions while probing alternate dimensions, but it turns out that he unknowingly took Element X from the possession of a shape-shifting tyrant, who tracks it back to the Fantastic Four lab building and, not satisfied with merely trying to take it back, uses his emotion-controlling weapons to kidnap and "punish" the Fantastic Four and Alicia. They manage to escape when Suzie turns the alien's Hate Cannon on the alien himself, filling him with crippling self-hatred.
  • In one episode of G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, several Joes have a device implanted on their necks that allows Cobra to control their emotions. Cobra's chosen interface for the system? A pipe organ.
  • In the Kim Possible episode "Emotion Sickness", Kim and Shego accidentally get implanted with computer chips which allow their emotions to be changed via a remote-control device.
  • Wow of the VBirds is capable of influencing those around her into a calmer state, even carnivorous plants.