U mad bro? Researchers measure emotion with your mouse clicks

December 14, 2015
BYU Professor Jeffrey Jenkins says mouse movements can detect a user's negative emotions.

Most people can tell if you're angry based on the way you're acting. Professor Jeffrey Jenkins can tell if you're angry by the way you move a computer mouse.

The BYU information systems expert says people experiencing anger (and other negative emotions—frustration, confusion, sadness) become less precise in their movements and move the cursor at different speeds.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, Jenkins and his colleagues can now gather and process enough data points from your cursor movement to measure those deviations and indicate your emotional state.

"Using this technology, websites will no longer be dumb," Jenkins said. "Websites can go beyond just presenting information, but they can sense you. They can understand not just what you're providing, but what you're feeling."

According to his research, when users are upset or confused, the mouse no longer follows a straight or gently curving path. Instead, movements become jagged and sudden. Additionally, someone exhibiting negative emotions moves a mouse slower.

"It's counterintuitive; people might think, 'When I'm frustrated, I start moving the mouse faster,'' Jenkins said. "Well, no, you actually start moving slower."

Jenkins believes the greatest application of his research (and resulting technology that measures mouse movements) is that web developers will be able to adapt or fix sore points in websites that bring out .

In other words, now the folks running the online ticket website that drives you bonkers will know exactly when you throw up your hands and scream.

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

Jenkins' technology has been patented and spun off to a startup company that holds the license. Now he's in the process of refining it, with details of his latest research appearing in top information systems journal MIS Quarterly.

Coauthors on the study include professors from Germany (Martin Hibbeln), Hong Kong (Christoph Schneider) and Liechtenstein (Markus Weinmann). Joseph Valacich, a professor of management at the University of Arizona, was also a coauthor.

Jenkins said the cursor-tracking concept can also be applied to , where swipes and taps replace mouse movement. Although he is still in the early stages of looking at mobile devices, he is encouraged by the massive amounts of data phones and tablets are providing.

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5 / 5 (2) Dec 14, 2015
I wonder if one could get similar resultes from anylsis of typing patterns:
- frequency
- number of misspelled words compared to the user's baseline
- choice of words/word length compared to the user's baseline
- loudness of keyboard sounds
- time interval between stopping to type and sending of the message/post
- number of 'corrective' actions taken (not just correcting misspelled words, but e.g. altering sentence structure for clarity)
Captain Stumpy
5 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2015
I wonder if one could get similar resultes from anylsis of typing patterns:


there are more out there... i can't find any open right now
and i've not a lot of time, sorry

i know that this has been studied with manual typewriters as well...

3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 14, 2015
I bet phys.org cold triple the mortality rate of its users by increasing the flood control duration to four minutes.

Or, increase its traffic by 3000% if the flood control duration was randomized between one and six minutes, but that would be evil.

I wonder if one could get similar resultes from anylsis of typing patterns:

For this place, oh yes. There are definitely patterns in lingo used here. Appeals to money seems to be the dominant paradigm of language in science deniers. For myself, from anecdote, I would add the following behaviors to any analysis...

-Amount of time staring at the screen in disgust and disbelief before posting.
-Frequency of alcoholic beverages consumed when away from phys.org whenever science is mentioned.
-PTSD reactions when someone says "open minded."
-Boughts of flailing at the sky while screaming "why did you leave me on this *unintellible sobbing* planet!"
5 / 5 (1) Dec 14, 2015
The 3 minute flood control is BS.

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