Measuring emotions

Humans are in essence emotional beings. People like things, which give them a feeling of happiness. Humans also make decisions that trigger positive emotions and avoid things that give us any negative emotions. Thus, positive emotions are a good indicator of what one would choose, and one would buy.

If you ask a person how they feel about something their answers will be rational at best. However people’s decisions are far from rational and are driven by our subconscious beliefs and the way we feel about things. Our emotions. Because emotions are such an inherent part of decision making, emotions measurement is a must-use tool for marketing and many other research fields trying to make sense of human decisions.

When a person feels a positive emotion, it is usually expressed in his or her face, they’ll smile or will show some micro-expressions. This is true even if the emotion is not very strong.

Both top-down and bottom-up factors have an influence on buying behavior. The emotions that a stimulus elicits are among these. People often have habitual walking paths in grocery shops or streets and only notice things that are usual to them, very distinct or emotional. This means that more positive stimuli (package design, website, advert etc.) have a higher likelihood to be seen, and therefore bought. After all, things that we do not notice will 100% be not bought.

Classical marketing research often asks how much people like a product or package design. We instead measure emotions through automatic facial expressions based emotions measurement using FaceReader software for the analysis. FaceReader is based on Ekman Facial Actions Coding System and automatically measures 7 basic emotions from pictures or videos of consumers with an average accuracy of 88%.

How do we do it?

Our neuromarketing laboratory uses four types of emotion measurement solutions – face expression measurement, GSR, EEG and emotion questionnaires.

We mainly use facial expressions to measure emotions in the lab using FaceReader software. FaceReader is a software that allows us to measure a person’s emotions based on their expressions. During an experiment, a person is shown different stimuli and a video of that person’s face is recorded. During the analysis of the video, over 200 points are mapped on a person’s face and their movements are used to identify emotions.