“A book is beauty. A book is a shelf, a wall, a home.” states Simon Jenkins, the Guardian. He informs us that the digital book has had its peak. Paper books are instead just what he says: a shelf, a wall, a home. But how do you shove your shelf, wall, or home into a suitcase and fly off to Florida? I’d rather put my Kindle in my handbag and have all the books I’d ever want to read with me.
Military dogs, especially improvised explosive device (IED)-detection dogs, work in war zones under harsh conditions. Being attuned to fear-inducing sounds and recovering quickly is a critical requirement. Margaret Gruen and her colleagues recently investigated a new method to assess sound induced fear and anxiety in candidate IED-detection dogs – specifically, Labrador retrievers.
Being a horse owner and a Noldus employee is the perfect combination when it comes to keeping track of the scientific background for my horseback riding hobby. Since horses communicate differently than humans, I always wonder if I have a “happy athlete” when we are exercising together. Esmee Smiet and colleagues recently investigated the effects of different head and neck positions (HNPs) on behavior, heart rate variability (HRV) and cortisol levels in lunged Royal Dutch Sport horses. Interestingly, they were able to find significant differences in stress response between different head and neck positions, suggesting that there are indeed low stress and high stress ways to exercise your horse.
Do you know what creativity is? Can you measure it? On February 19, 2014 Dr. Ysbrand van der Werf gave a lecture on creativity. For him, creativity is about the creator and the person experiencing the things created.
In the autumn of 2013, a team of scientists measured the emotions, brain activity and subjective feelings of a writer (Arnon Grunberg) as he created a new book (‘Het bestand’: an ambiguous title that can refer to a computer file or a cease-fire).
In a romantic relationship, it is undoubtedly important to show support when one’s partner shares his or her accomplishments and positive life events. Retelling and reliving such events can evoke certain emotions, but the listener’s response often impacts the storyteller’s attitude as well. To simulate this process, researchers Samuel Monfort and colleagues created a structured social interaction task with couples: 1) positive event of one partner, 2) disclosure of the event to the other partner, and 3) clear communication of a capitalization response that ranged from actively destructive to enthusiastic, supportive and constructive.
Monfort and his team set out to capture a full range of emotional responses and therefore measured experiential (subjective feelings), behavioral (facial-motor activity), and physiological (skin conductance) outputs. Behavior and physiology are closely linked; as Patrick Zimmerman and his colleagues explain, more and more researchers now see the benefit of combining behavioral observations with other types of data such as heart rate, blood pressure or eye movements. By integrating multiple modalities, researchers achieve a more complete picture of the phenomena being studied.
The application of neuroscience methods to marketing – neuromarketing – is growing in popularity. Marketers hope that neuroscience will provide them with information that is not obtainable through conventional marketing methods such as questionnaires and focus groups. Can neuroscience be the holy grail of the study of consumer behavior?
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
As a consumer, you have to make many different choices. Which peanut butter do you want? Which potato chips are the healthy choice? Some consumer groups are more vulnerable than others. For example, food and drinks meant for children, elderly, and consumers with poor health should receive extra consideration.
In the past, research in this area had mostly been done using questionnaires. You often saw students in the supermarket carrying clipboards with 5 to 10 questions per product. Supermarket visitors then provided researchers with answers about preference. However, these might have been socially desirable or so called ‘conscious’ answers. They might not have reflected the initial response of this particular person. This initial response or so called unbiased reaction is what researchers are after these days. Observing behavior is therefore becoming more and more popular.
In a recent publication in Food quality and preference De Wijk et al. 2012 explain that consumer acceptance may be based on unconscious processes. Therefore, they explored several behavioral and physiological measures (learn more about psychophysiology) to see if they could gain more insight into consumer behavior. They investigated which techniques were most suitable for future consumer research. They want to make a contribution and expect that research will make a difference in facilitating the development of (healthy) food for various consumer groups, such as the elderly.
The test took place in the sensory laboratory of the Restaurant of the Future. This restaurant is a unique environment where scientists can observe restaurant visitors. It comprises of two parts: a company restaurant (living lab) and a sensory consumer research lab. A total of 16 children and 15 young adults participated. In short, three liked and three disliked food items were selected for each participant and their responses were measured at first sight and after the test leader asked them to inspect, smell or taste the food item.
In the experiment De Wijk et al. carried out, facial expressions were analyzed using FaceReader software. This software automatically analyzes six basic emotions: sad, scared, happy, disgusted, angry, and surprised (learn more about FaceReader). One camera was used to record the facial expressions and afterwards FaceReader analyzed the videos. To measure the heart rate, skin conductance and finger temperature, electrodes and ear clips were placed on the test participants. The physiological measures were recorded continuously and analyzed afterwards per experimental session.
Using these methods, De Wijk et al. were able to obtain detailed information on food preferences in relation to specific food properties. For example, they conclude that facial expressions successfully reflect negative but not positive food preferences. And they found much more. For example that finger temperature was higher for liked foods than for disliked foods. This means facial expression analysis and physiological measurements can add real value to the understanding of behavior.
When it comes to measuring our emotional responses to food items, medical treatment, or works of art, our behavior does not always paint the whole picture. Sometimes it is difficult to put our emotional experience into words, for example, when looking at a painting in a museum. In other, more experimental situations, a test participant may be too young to verbally comment on the test situation or the participant is reluctant to show a behavioral response. That is why behavioral researchers increasingly combine behavioral observations with psychophysiological measures, including heart rate and skin conductance.
For many years, questionnaires and interviews were used to assess needs, motives, and preferences of consumers. But, non-verbal responses can also provide important information. Repeatedly, behavioral research has demonstrated that people often don’t do what they say they will do. Recently, innovative research methods and techniques found their way into the field of marketing studies. Neuromarketing has become increasingly more popular.
Neuromarketing (Smidts, 2002) is a field of marketing that studies consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. It is an interesting mix of companies and universities that invest in neuromarketing to gather more information about consumer behavior. Recently, neuromarketing professionals from all over the world have united themselves in the NMSBA, the Neuromarketing Science & Business Association.