U mad bro? Computers now know when you're angry

December 14, 2015

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 mouse 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 negative emotions.

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 information systems at the University of Arizona, was also a coauthor.

Jenkins said the cursor-tracking concept can also be applied to mobile devices, 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.
-end-


Brigham Young University

Related Mobile Devices Articles from Brightsurf:

How mobile apps grab our attention
Aalto University researchers alongside international collaborators have done the first empirical study on how users pay visual attention to mobile app designs.

No association found between exposure to mobile devices and brain volume alterations in adolescents
New study of 2,500 Dutch children is the first to explore the relationship between brain volume and different doses of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields

Mobile devices blur work and personal privacy raising cyber risks, says QUT researcher
Organisations aren't moving quickly enough on cyber security threats linked to the drive toward using personal mobile devices in the workplace, warns a QUT privacy researcher.

Multi-mobile (M2) computing system makes android & iOS apps sharable on multiple devices
Computer scientists at Columbia Engineering have developed a new computing system that enables current, unmodified mobile apps to combine and share multiple devices, including cameras, displays, speakers, microphones, sensors, and GPS, across multiple smartphones and tablets.

The use of mobile phone and the development of new pathologies
Professor Raquel Cantero of the University of Malaga (UMA) has identified a generational change in the use of this finger due to the influence of new technologies.

Mobile devices don't reduce shared family time, study finds
The first study of the impact of digital mobile devices on different aspects of family time in the UK has found that children are spending more time at home with their parents rather than less -- but not in shared activities such as watching TV and eating.

Mobile, instant diagnosis of viruses
In a first for plant virology, a team from CIRAD recently used nanopore technology to sequence the entire genomes of two yam RNA viruses.

Wearable devices and mobile health technology: one step towards better health
With increasing efforts being made to address the current global obesity epidemic, wearable devices and mobile health ('mHealth') technology have emerged as promising tools for promoting physical activity.

Mobile health devices diagnose hidden heart condition in at-risk populations
New research shows wearable mobile health devices improved the rate of diagnosis of a dangerous heart condition called atrial fibrillation.

Ultrasound-firewall for mobile phones
Mobile phones and tablets through so-called audio tracking, can be used by means of ultrasound to unnoticeably track the behaviour of their users: for example, viewing certain videos or staying in specific rooms and places.

Read More: Mobile Devices News and Mobile Devices Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.