by Amrita Surendranath on  December 16, 2015 at 5:25 PM Health In Focus
 Computers Can Detect Your Anger
Computers are no longer merely digital devices that provide data, instead they can now detect when you are angry, according to Professor Jerry Jenkins from Brigham Young University.

The professor from BYU says that the pattern of mouse usage can be used to detect varying emotions like anger, sadness, frustrating or even confusion. The study is based on in depth understanding of user behaviour and mouse usage patterns.

For the study, the professor and his fellow researchers designed an online test that would get the users worked up and angry. This test purportedly was designed with the following inclusions to increase user's anger,
  • It was a timed test
  • Each page would open very slowly
  • There was negative marking for the wrong answer
The researchers then intently studied the mouse movement patterns of the students who took up the test, to understand the pattern when people are angry or frustrated. With the advanced technology available, Jenkins used available data points from the mouse movement to measure the extent of deviation, which was used to detect emotion. At the end of the test the students were provided details of the study to improve their mood and to rest their anxiety.

The technology has now been patented and sold to a start up that is intent on continuing the research along with Jenkins. Mind control technology has been used for medical purposes like for prosthetic arms and for those with physical limitations but this current research would benefit user experience at large.

Future of Mind Control Technology

The advancement in computer usage and enhanced visitor experience is guaranteed on use of this technology.

Websites will now be able to assess the mood of the visitor and remove aspects of the site that lead to anger.
  • Websites like ticket websites will benefit from detecting frustration
  • Websites can change user experience to encourage repeated visits
  • Adoption into mobile technology would further improve website popularity. Only here instead of mouse movement, swipes will be considered.
The technology holds a lot of promise for website owners who will now be able to detect user experience and can get a glimpse of their emotional state rather than banking merely on the data keyed in by the user.

Benefits of Mind Control Technology

For the user;
  • Websites will be intelligently designed to captivate the user
  • Frustrating elements of websites will be avoided
  • Easier navigation
For the websites;
  • Websites will avoid elements that cause negative emotions among users
  • Loyalty towards the website
  • Decisions pertaining to purchase
  • Use of technology
This article, published in the journal MIS Quarterly assesses the mouse movement patterns of users at different state of minds. Emotions experienced by users will be transmitted by mere movement of the mouse, making surveys redundant.

According to professor Jenkins, an angry user is more likely to move the mouse slowly and with jagged movements, though according to common knowledge, people believe that anger could lead to fast and irritated movements. An earlier study by researchers from Malaysia detailed the use of computer technology that detected lip movements of the user to determine the mood of the user.

As Jenkins says " Being able to sense a negative emotional response, we can adjust the website response to eliminate stress or to offer help". This technology will elevate user involvement, benefiting both the user as well as the website. Of course there is the added risk of better gaming experience which has its share of disadvantages!
References : 1. Martin Hibbeln, Jeffrey L. Jenkins, Christoph Schneider, Joseph S. Valacich, and Markus Weinmann; "Inferring negative emotions from mouse cursor movements"; MISQ Archivist



Source: Medindia

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