With the predicted increase of the elderly population worldwide, it has become increasingly important to develop user-friendly products and services to assist elderly people in daily activities and improve their quality of life. Did you know that it is expected that in 2050 an estimated 1.5 billion people will be 65+, representing about 16% of the world’s population?
Do you know what creativity is? Can you measure it? Last week the well-known neuroscientist Dr. Ysbrand van der Werf chose the setting of Utrecht University Hall (a former Chapter House from 1462) to give an inspiring lecture on the subject. As soon as he started, van der Werf grabbed the attention of everyone in the packed room by showing a live experiment with FaceReader. A FaceReader webcam was aimed at Ruud Abma, one of the coordinators of the Studium Generale lectures. The entire room filled with laughter when Dr. Abma enlarged several facial expressions, such as happiness, anger, and sadness. Van der Werf explained that measuring facial expressions is only one way to gain insight. By combining facial expression analysis with physiological measurements and brain activity measurements, scientists get a quite complete overview of responses to stimuli.
After Albert Einstein died, his brain was preserved and in the following decades scientists have studied it to try and see if there was anything exceptional about it. It is hard to draw conclusions from just one subject, but one clear difference is that he had an exceptionally large number of glial cells in the area of the brain responsible for incorporating and synthesizing information from other brain regions . Glial cells are important for a number of brain functions, including signal transmission.
Observational research is becoming more and more popular in consumer science and market research. From on-site behavioral observations in supermarkets to advanced multimodal lab studies, researchers are more and more familiar with measuring and observing participant behavior. Researchers combine for example the measurement of behavioral and physiological data in order to get a more complete picture of the person’s response.
This Behavioral Research Blog post features the top 5 blog posts about consumer science, market research, and neuromarketing that were published in recent months.
Topics: The Observer XT, emotion recognition, on-site research, video observation, FaceReader, facial expression analysis, infant behavior, Observation lab, consumer behavior, physiology, Neuromarketing, living labs, eye tracking
In the near future, we will be able to feel, smell, hear, taste, and observe all the evidence that was present at a crime scene in virtual reality. In the new CSI Lab in The Hague, The Netherlands, different technologies are used to digitize and visualize a crime scene in all its glory. The technologies used in this remarkable lab are normally used outside the forensic field, but come together in this CSI Lab to resemble a crime scene including a street, a house as a crime scene and within this house, a bathroom, bedroom, and living room. All rooms are equipped with cameras to follow the forensic research process making this CSI lab very useful for educating and training forensic researchers.
Museums, zoos, theme parks, and aquariums all observe the behavior of their visitors in order to find the best ways to entertain and educate. In Timing and Tracking: Unlocking Visitor Behavior, Steven Yalowitz and Kerry Bronnenkant review the history of timing and tracking in museums and provide a detailed description of methods used to record, analyze, and report timing and tracking data. They claim that in the past, researchers mostly recorded where the visitor went (and in some of the earliest studies, they even tracked wear patterns on the carpet!)
Observational research is often best carried out in a stationary lab. Controlled conditions and accurate data recording are key in scientific success and a stationary lab provides these controlled conditions while allowing scientists to observe test participants unobtrusively. It is possible to combine video observations, physiological data collection, facial expression analysis, sensory testing, and more in a lab, and thus a myriad of different experiment setups and designs based on the type and position of cameras, microphones, eye trackers webcams: whatever is necessary to gather rich and meaningful data (see the inter-observer agreement percentages below).
A few years ago it might have seemed quite futuristic, but nowadays researchers are more and more developing and building living labs and smart homes in which products and services are presented to end users for evaluation in a naturalistic environment.