Bootcamp on Heart Rate and Galvanic Skin Response as Measures for Assessing Human Experience

2017.01.10 | Anne-Mette Pedersen

Date Thu 11 May
Time 09:00 17:00
Location IMC Meeting Room, Jens Chr. Skous Vej 4, Building 1483-312

As an interdisciplinary venture, Cognitive Sciences is constantly exploring and developing qualitative and quantitative ways to assess the human mind and its processes. In this process, Heart rate (HR) and Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) have become known to be quite easily recordable quantitative indicators not only of bodily of physical activity but also of psychological processes, such as attention, arousal and emotion. However, already a quick look in the existing literature demonstrates that the interpretation of such measures is rather complex and specifically depending on the way the measure was collected and analysed. Our first bootcamp in 2017 brings together five specialists focussing on different strategies of using one or both of the two measures.

The speakers of this bootcamp are

  • Robert Potter, Associate Professor at and director of the Institute for Communication Research at Indiana University Bloomington 
  • Julian Koenig, Postdoc at Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, University of Heidelberg
  • Ivana Konvalinka, Assistant Professor in the Section for Cognitive Systems at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU Compute)
  • Bert Bakker, Assistant Professor at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research, University of Amsterdam
  • Georgios Yannakakis, Associate Professor at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta

Abstracts - see below!

The bootcamps, as started in 2016 (link), continue as events directed to an interdisciplinary (and not exclusively academic) public willing to invest a full day (9 am – 5 pm) to acquire fundamental knowledge about the respective topic. The talks therefore are planned to start on a basic level, though quickly leading up to state of the art research of the speakers. A shared panel discussion at the end is thought to allow comparisons and combinations of the different approaches. Participation is limited to 40 participants max. and registration is acquired (SEE LINK ABOVE). Please note that we would like participants to join for the FULL day (not only for single talks) to allow the progress described. Lunch and coffee is provided by the IMC.

Due to the bootcamps being part of the Research Project PLAYTrack, investigating Play and Playfulness, one of the four talks is particularly focused on using HR and GSR in ecological settings  (outside of the lab) and the final discussion will also tackle the question, how to assess play(ful) experiences in particular. Please also note the upcoming bootcamps on mobile devices (7th of June) and eyetracking (19th of September).

We are looking forward to your registration!

REGISTRATION IS CLOSED

ABSTRACTS:

 

Insights from the Hands and the Heart: How using ECG and GSR can help us better understand the impact of media on cognition and emotion
Robert F. Potter, Ph.D. 
This talk begins by providing a general introduction into the assumptions of psychophysiological recording and a brief history into its use in the modern media science laboratory. The focus then turns to specifics of measuring heart rate via the electrocardiogram (ECG) and electrodermal activity via the galvanic skin response (GSR). Finally, some recent example from the work done in the Institute for Communication Research will be shared to illustrate how these peripheral psychophysiological measures help us better understand the way media messages affect audiences.

 

Julian Koenig, Ph.D.
Although a wide range of physiologic factors determine cardiac functions such as heart rate (HR), the autonomic nervous system (ANS) is the most prominent. Like many organs in the body, the heart is dually innervated. Chronotropic (i.e., the timing of heartbeats) control of the heart is achieved via the complex interplay of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) branches of the ANS. More importantly, the HR is under tonic inhibitory control by the PNS. The basic data for the calculation of all the measures of HR variability (HRV) are the sequence of time intervals between adjacent heartbeats – the inter-beat interval (IBI). Relative increases in SNS activity are associated with HR increases and relative increases in PNS activity are associated with HR decreases. While SNS effects are slow on the timescale of seconds, PNS effects are faster on the timescale of milliseconds. Therefore, the PNS influences are the only ones capable of producing rapid changes in the beat-to-beat timing of the heart. Time- and frequency-domain measures of high-frequency HRV (HF-HRV) reflecting the fast parasympathetic modulation of autonomic control, provide a feasible and readily available index of vagal activity. The talk will provide detailed insights in the recording and processing of HRV data and will summarize recent studies in linking vagal activity to different facets of every day functioning and development across the lifespan.

 

Intra- and interpersonal physiological synchronization
Ivana Konvalinka, Ph.D.
A central question within social cognition research is how and why people synchronize their bodily rhythms.  It is well established that people synchronize their behavioural rhythms both intentionally and unintentionally, and this mechanism has previously been linked to social bonding. Recent studies have also reported evidence of interpersonal physiological synchronization (IPS) – namely, synchronization of respiratory and cardiac rhythms between people; however, this mechanism remains poorly understood, and there is currently no established methodology for how to investigate it. In this talk, I will outline available methodologies for quantification of IPS, and discuss their advantages and pitfalls. In particular, I will discuss use of CRQA for quantifying coupling between two person’s heart rhythms, as well as phase-synchronization approaches. I will also show how IPS can be grounded to an intrapersonal physiological basis. Finally, I will discuss evidence of IPS as a mechanism underlying social interaction, and present ideas for future research with a focus on design and methodologies.  

 

Modeling Player Psychophysiology
Georgios N. Yannakakis, Ph.D.

Can we understand how players feel, think and react and, in turn, automatically design new games for them? How can we use computational processes to model aspects of player experience? Which user modalities would be more appropriate for the task? What role does heart activity plays on the task? How should we collect data so that our models are reliable and accurate enough? What are the challenges of play we are faced with during our analysis? In this talk I will address the above questions by positioning computer games as the ideal application domain for affective computing for the unique features they offer. I will also focus on the study of player emotion and will detail the key phases for efficient game-based affect interaction. Advanced methods for player experience modeling, game adaptation, and procedural content generation will be showcased via a plethora of game-based projects developed at the Institute of Digital Games, University of Malta.

 

Contact: Assistant Professor Katrin Heimann, IMC

Hot Politics: Physiological Responses to Political CommunicationHot Politics: Physiological Responses to Political Communication

Bert Bakker, Ph.D

Europeans and Americans are anxious about the number of refugees entering their country; angry about unresponsive political elites; or sad how immigrants are treated. To answer the question whether these emotions influence citizens’ political attitudes, the state-of-the-art relies primarily upon self-reported emotions. Yet, when asked to self-report emotions, people are likely to mix their initial emotion with their cognitive evaluation which leads to an invalid measure of the emotion. In Hot Politics, I employ a ground-breaking methodological design by not relying upon self-reported emotions but measuring emotions via the actual physiological responses that citizens experience. Physiological responses are automatic, directed by the autonomous nervous system, when the brain experiences emotion. We test which citizens experience which physiological responses to political messages. In this talk, I will primarily talk about the extent to which pro and counter attitudinal spark arousal, measured using ECG and SCL. We do this based upon a set of novel studies. Often, psychophysiological studies are conducted in the laboratories of a university. While having a lot of experimental control, these studies draw upon a very narrow set of respondents, namely university students. In order to broaden the pool of respondents, we conduct our studies using so called laboratory-in-the-field studies. At large public events – such as cultural festivals – people can participate in our experiments. This results in large and more diverse pools of subjects. I will discuss the possibilities of moving outside of the university as well as some of the potential pitfalls of this approach. Moreover, I will show that some – but not all – political messages spark arousal.Europeans and Americans are anxious about the number of refugees entering their country; angry about unresponsive political elites; or sad how immigrants are treated. To answer the question whether these emotions influence citizens’ political attitudes, the state-of-the-art relies primarily upon self-reported emotions. Yet, when asked to self-report emotions, people are likely to mix their initial emotion with their cognitive evaluation which leads to an invalid measure of the emotion. In Hot Politics, I employ a ground-breaking methodological design by not relying upon self-reported emotions but measuring emotions via the actual physiological responses that citizens experience. Physiological responses are automatic, directed by the autonomous nervous system, when the brain experiences emotion. We test which citizens experience which physiological responses to political messages. In this talk, I will primarily talk about the extent to which pro and counter attitudinal spark arousal, measured using ECG and SCL. We do this based upon a set of novel studies. Often, psychophysiological studies are conducted in the laboratories of a university. While having a lot of experimental control, these studies draw upon a very narrow set of respondents, namely university students. In order to broaden the pool of respondents, we conduct our studies using so called laboratory-in-the-field studies. At large public events – such as cultural festivals – people can participate in our experiments. This results in large and more diverse pools of subjects. I will discuss the possibilities of moving outside of the university as well as some of the potential pitfalls of this approach. Moreover, I will show that some – but not all – political messages spark arousal.

Workshop

Kommentar