Scientists disagree on a definition of emotion, despite over a hundred years of research on the topic, but today most scientists agree that emotion has two main dimensions: arousal, ranging from calm to excited, and valence, ranging from negative to positive. Anger, for example, is likely to be highly arousing and negative in valence, while delight is likely to be mildly arousing and very positive in valence. While there is no perfect measure of arousal or valence, good approximations can be obtained by measuring arousal from the sympathetic nervous system and valence from facial expressions.
Dr. Rosalind Picard demonstrates two technologies for measuring emotional response that were invented at the MIT Media Lab and commercialized by Affectiva.
Emotion measurement can benefit people in many areas, including:
Market research: advertising, customer experience, distance learning, market research, product design, testing and usability feedback, sales promotion.
Clinical research: addiction, affect dysregulation, alcoholism, Alzheimer’s Disease, anesthesia, anxiety disorder, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, dysthymia, dermatology studies (e.g. eczema), diabetes, drug trials (providing an objective biomarker), endocrine disorders that interact with arousal levels (e.g. premenstrual dysmorphic disorder, hypoglycemia, hypothyroidism), epilepsy, hot flashes, menopause studies, Lou Gehrig’s disease or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), locked-in syndrome, oppositional defiant disorder/conduct disorder, pain management, Parkinson’s disease, phobias (and desensitization therapy), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychiatric counseling, quadriplegia or paraplegia, schizophrenia, sensory processing disorders, sexual dysfunction, sleep disorders, insomnia, sociopathy, stroke/temporary paralysis
Other: artistic expression, biofeedback, call centers, engagement measures, online gaming, learning style customization, nonverbal communication for nonspeaking people, robotics research, self-awareness enhancement, usability, virtual reality research