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Assessing audience feedback

Art, it has been said, is about creating an emotional response in the observer. In dramatic performance this is also true; good theatre creates an emotional response in the audience. The physiological sensor experiments help us to understand whether the nature and profundity of these emotional response can be measured and used to calibrate the ability of different representations of a performance to affect its audience.

Physiological sensors - experiment

In the QoE test platform, physiological data, gathered from probes that may measure pulse rate or Galvanic Skin Response, (essentially a measure of skin conductivity that can be related to emotional state) have been mentioned as ways of providing insights into quality of experience enjoyed by the participants.

Physiological experiments – showing the sensors and their output

In order to understand, in the first instance, the degree to which the response of an audience can be understood from physiological measurements a short theatrical production was devised and performed in front of an audience of 15 people who had agreed to wear Galvanic Skin Response (GSR) meters to measure their response to the performance.

Galvanic skin response measurements showing the cluster of 10 results (red dots) from those engaged with the performance together with the “rogue” responses from those differently affected by the performance.

Physiological sensors – results

Whilst data from physiological measurements is noisy, the data was analysed in ways that showed strong clustering of 10 of the results across the 15 of audience participants. Plausible explanations, mostly related to the individual’s context, as to why the remaining 5 responses were distinct form the mean were also discovered. We also found, from questionnaire results, it is believed that Cheerfulnesss and Enjoyment were the more emotional components linked to the Galvanic Skin Response measurements that gave rise to the observed changes.

Physiological sensors – exploitation

The test results, and in particular the method developed in the GSR work, can be folded back into the test platform experiments, providing insights into methods and approaches to use when trying to measure GSR data to better understand quality of experience.