Seeing Famous Celebrities on Screen Makes Us Emotionally React

Viewers emotionally react to celebrities.  When Leonardo DiCaprio and Alec Baldwin first appear on screen in The Departed, we can see spikes in viewer’s skin conductance—recognizing familiar celebrities.

Violence and Humor Interact This viewer reacted to the first shots of The Departed, and when then the shooter joked, “Geez, she fell funny,” we see a large spike as well.  Perhaps both violence and dark humor can work together to create a physiological arousal effect, a one-two punch.

Violence and Humor Interact

This viewer reacted to the first shots of The Departed, and when then the shooter joked, “Geez, she fell funny,” we see a large spike as well.  Perhaps both violence and dark humor can work together to create a physiological arousal effect, a one-two punch.

Violence Excites the First Time but Not the Second When Matt Damon’s cast is slammed to the ground, the viewer emotionally reacts.  But the second time the cast is slammed, we do not see the spike; it’s not shocking or surprising.  However, when Matt is later hit by a shoe the viewer once again reacts, though not as much as the original slamming of the cast.

Violence Excites the First Time but Not the Second

When Matt Damon’s cast is slammed to the ground, the viewer emotionally reacts.  But the second time the cast is slammed, we do not see the spike; it’s not shocking or surprising.  However, when Matt is later hit by a shoe the viewer once again reacts, though not as much as the original slamming of the cast.

Engage Customers Through Touch When this customer opened the blender lid, turned on the blender, and tried out a weaker blender, we see spikes in his skin conductance. Tangible interactions create much larger spikes than what an ad can produce.  Note, due to confidentiality agreements, we cannot describe what the actual product was; it was not a blender, but blender like

Engage Customers Through Touch

When this customer opened the blender lid, turned on the blender, and tried out a weaker blender, we see spikes in his skin conductance. Tangible interactions create much larger spikes than what an ad can produce.  Note, due to confidentiality agreements, we cannot describe what the actual product was; it was not a blender, but blender like

Reduce Stress by Removing Search Time Mason needed to find a piece for his LEGO Technic.  As he began searching for the piece, his skin conductance started to increase.  Unable to find the piece, Mason went to his mother and asked if he could quit building LEGO Technic.

Reduce Stress by Removing Search Time

Mason needed to find a piece for his LEGO Technic.  As he began searching for the piece, his skin conductance started to increase.  Unable to find the piece, Mason went to his mother and asked if he could quit building LEGO Technic.

Asking Mom for Help Is Stressful  When he subtly asks his mother for help, “I’m building LEGO Technic by myself,” we see a large spike in his skin conductance.  Mason was told to build by himself, but we can see his anxiety spike as he explains to his Mom his worry.

Asking Mom for Help Is Stressful

 When he subtly asks his mother for help, “I’m building LEGO Technic by myself,” we see a large spike in his skin conductance.  Mason was told to build by himself, but we can see his anxiety spike as he explains to his Mom his worry.

Each Turn of a Page Adds New Stress When Mason turned to Step Number 2, we saw a large spike in skin conductance. On each page is novel information—new pieces and new instructions. This new information alerts Mason. Originally, when building digital instructions, animated videos were added to instruction introductions, but we removed them as it added too much stress.

Each Turn of a Page Adds New Stress

When Mason turned to Step Number 2, we saw a large spike in skin conductance. On each page is novel information—new pieces and new instructions. This new information alerts Mason. Originally, when building digital instructions, animated videos were added to instruction introductions, but we removed them as it added too much stress.

Parents Can Bore Their Children If They Help Too Much In this graph Mason becomes calmer when his mother helps him build a LEGO Technic. However, as Mason becomes calm, he becomes bored—there’s no challenge if his mother is doing all the work. During downward slopes like this, we saw Mason putting his hand on his chin and slouch as he starts story telling with the pieces, losing interest in the Technic model his mother was building.

Parents Can Bore Their Children If They Help Too Much

In this graph Mason becomes calmer when his mother helps him build a LEGO Technic. However, as Mason becomes calm, he becomes bored—there’s no challenge if his mother is doing all the work. During downward slopes like this, we saw Mason putting his hand on his chin and slouch as he starts story telling with the pieces, losing interest in the Technic model his mother was building.

Parents Are the Best Way to Reduce the Stress of Playing with Challenging LEGO Sets When Mason built his first LEGO Technic by himself, he became more and more stressed (skin conductance fluctuating more).  However, when his mother was helping him, he was much calmer and relaxed—he knew his mother would take care of the hard parts.

Parents Are the Best Way to Reduce the Stress of Playing with Challenging LEGO Sets

When Mason built his first LEGO Technic by himself, he became more and more stressed (skin conductance fluctuating more).  However, when his mother was helping him, he was much calmer and relaxed—he knew his mother would take care of the hard parts.

Employee Interactions Kill Customer Engagement This shopper was browsing and interacting with displayed electronics, but when an employee came in to ‘help’ their engagement dipped down. Rather than actively learning, the customer now had to listen to the employee’s sale pitch, slowly killing their interest.

Employee Interactions Kill Customer Engagement

This shopper was browsing and interacting with displayed electronics, but when an employee came in to ‘help’ their engagement dipped down. Rather than actively learning, the customer now had to listen to the employee’s sale pitch, slowly killing their interest.

Ball Pits Can Help Children with Autism Relax When this child was lying in a ball pit during therapy, we see her being able to relax. Ball pits provide pressure, tactile feedback, and resistance to movement—all things that can help a child relax.

Ball Pits Can Help Children with Autism Relax

When this child was lying in a ball pit during therapy, we see her being able to relax. Ball pits provide pressure, tactile feedback, and resistance to movement—all things that can help a child relax.

Opening a Box to Test a Product Stresses Shoppers The best way to excite shoppers is to have them use your products. However, often, they have to first open the box. Opening/vandalizing a box to learn makes shoppers feel guilty—pushing them away or hastening their interaction.  Retail needs is to make products easy to play with.

Opening a Box to Test a Product Stresses Shoppers

The best way to excite shoppers is to have them use your products. However, often, they have to first open the box. Opening/vandalizing a box to learn makes shoppers feel guilty—pushing them away or hastening their interaction.  Retail needs is to make products easy to play with.

Eliminate Choice from Directions When this patient was learning how to use a self-injection device, the instructions told him to use 2-5mL of insulin. However, he was confused, “Is it 2 or 5mL?” He wanted the exact amount. Being told to use 3mL would reduce the stress of patients as the room for ‘error’ is reduced. The same stress is shown again when the patient is asked to select a body place for the injection: legs, arms, and abdomen. The instructions would have been less stressful if they said, “Inject in the arm of your nondominant hand … for future times you can also inject in your legs, other arm, and abdomen.”

Eliminate Choice from Directions

When this patient was learning how to use a self-injection device, the instructions told him to use 2-5mL of insulin. However, he was confused, “Is it 2 or 5mL?” He wanted the exact amount. Being told to use 3mL would reduce the stress of patients as the room for ‘error’ is reduced. The same stress is shown again when the patient is asked to select a body place for the injection: legs, arms, and abdomen. The instructions would have been less stressful if they said, “Inject in the arm of your nondominant hand … for future times you can also inject in your legs, other arm, and abdomen.”

Symphony Patrons Learn over Time to Emotionally React to Classical Music

While new symphony attendees listen to classical music (top graph), we almost never see spikes in their skin conductance: they are unable to react to the music. However, frequent symphony attendees react much more to the music (bottom graph). Perhaps symphony patrons are able to notice the subtler changes in chords and instruments or are more familiar with the pieces. Because novice listeners struggle to emotionally react but expert listeners are full of emotional reactions, classical concerts need to have other ways of providing stimulation for novice listeners.

The Most Stressful Part of Building LEGO Technic is Going Back Ryan made a mistake building LEGO Technic around minute 1 and calls for his dad to help. Every time Ryan is mentions he has to back to fix his LEGO model, we see a large spike in skin conductance: Ryan is becoming stressed. While LEGO does a great job explaining how to build a tractor, there are no directions on what to do when a mistake occurs, and children are left feeling like they failed without hope for resolution.

The Most Stressful Part of Building LEGO Technic is Going Back

Ryan made a mistake building LEGO Technic around minute 1 and calls for his dad to help. Every time Ryan is mentions he has to back to fix his LEGO model, we see a large spike in skin conductance: Ryan is becoming stressed. While LEGO does a great job explaining how to build a tractor, there are no directions on what to do when a mistake occurs, and children are left feeling like they failed without hope for resolution.

We Engage with Familiar Music When Maria listened to her first classical concert her skin conductance remained relatively low. However, when “The Main Thee of Romeo and Juliet” played, her arousal spiked. She placed her hands to her heart, describing how emotional that song was for her. One of the reasons the song was so emotional for her was that she had heard the song many times before. This is why I love going to the John Williams and video game music concerts so much. 

We Engage with Familiar Music

When Maria listened to her first classical concert her skin conductance remained relatively low. However, when “The Main Thee of Romeo and Juliet” played, her arousal spiked. She placed her hands to her heart, describing how emotional that song was for her. One of the reasons the song was so emotional for her was that she had heard the song many times before. This is why I love going to the John Williams and video game music concerts so much. 

Transitions Between Mediums Captivate Us Maria drifted off during her first classical concert, but every time the host came up, her skin conductance increased. The novel different sight of the host heightened her arousal. However, this spike is temporary; the longer the host stayed on the stage the more her arousal decreased. Emotional transitions are quick and potent.

Transitions Between Mediums Captivate Us

Maria drifted off during her first classical concert, but every time the host came up, her skin conductance increased. The novel different sight of the host heightened her arousal. However, this spike is temporary; the longer the host stayed on the stage the more her arousal decreased. Emotional transitions are quick and potent.