Psychophysiology Lab

Psychophysiology Lab

The physiological measurement lab is an experimental laboratory for measuring psychophysiological responses to media messages, such as television commercials, video games, or Internet applications. Non-invasive sensors measure the body’s reflexive responses to mediated content.

The lab allows researchers to measure small changes in the body’s physiology that are associated with attention, emotion, and memory. The lab measures real-time changes in heart rate, skin conductance, and facial electromyography (EMG, or muscle activity). By measuring the electrical activity in the facial muscles associated with smiling and frowning, we are able to record changes in emotion so small that the viewer is not even aware of it.

Heart rate permits measurement of attention to radio and television messages, and skin conductance indicates small changes in physiological arousal. In one applied setting, advertising professionals increasingly acknowledge the role of emotion in advertising effectiveness.

By studying emotional responses that occur below the threshold of conscious awareness, we can further our understanding of how people form attitudes during early exposures with brands, companies, and organizations. We can also begin to tease out why one message might influences attitudes but is poorly remembered, and why another message might be well recognized but poorly recalled.