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BizReport : Trends & Ideas archives : December 15, 2015

Research finds correlation between mouse cursor movements and emotion

Imagine if you could tell whether someone using your website was frustrated and in need of help. New research has found a way in which this is possible, providing website and software developers with a potential new tool to gauge a user's emotional state.

by Helen Leggatt

An increasing number of companies are involved in emotion recognition technology - technology which marketers can harness to help test creative, plan media spends and analyze response. Realeyes, Affectiva and Emotient are just a few.

According to Realeyes, "up-and-coming research into behavioral economics suggests that emotional response may be a better predictor of ad effectiveness than rational measures, and go far towards explaining consumers' emotional behavior patterns".

New research from Brigham Young University appears to have found a way for a computer mouse to give away how a user is feeling while browsing a website. The discovery, documented in 'Inferring Negative Emotion from Mouse Cursor Movements', could well help website and software designers implement user interface elements to gauge emotional state.

According to Brigham Young University professor and information systems expert Jeffrey Jenkins, cursor movement driven by mouse use can provide information on the mood of the user. When a user is feeling irritated, or down, cursor movement becomes less precise, jerky and sudden rather than smooth or gently curving,

"Traditionally it has been very difficult to pinpoint when a user becomes frustrated, leading them to not come back to a site," said Jenkins. "Being able to sense a negative emotional response, we can adjust the website experience to eliminate stress or to offer help."

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: emotion recognition, research, technology, website experience

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