Even though the use of actors is a popular method for researching the expression of emotion, little is known about the relation between acted and real emotions. To shed some light on this, we set up a novel experiment, based on the Velten mood induction procedure, during which participants have to utter pre-defined sentences with a strong emotional content. In one group of participants, real positive or negative emotions were induced, while another group was instructed to act positive or negative while uttering Velten sentences. Results of a mood questionnaire revealed that participants in the real emotion condition, indeed felt positive or negative, depending on whether they read positive or negative sentences, while participants in the acted emotion condition felt neutral afterwards. In a second, perception experiment, it was found that acted emotions (especially negative ones) were perceived more strongly than the real emotions. This suggests that actors do not feel the acted emotion, and may engage in overacting, which casts doubt on the usefulness of actors as a way to study real emotions.