Perhaps one of the most intriguing emerging fields of audience measurement is what has been dubbed “neuro-metrics.” Neuro-metrics involves the use of neuroscience based systems to measure audiences’ emotional response and cognitive engagement with different types of content.
And yes, this does basically mean people getting electrodes strapped to their heads in some form or another. The latest development, however, involves this kind of research being taken out of the laboratory and into the home. According to this story, the firm EmSense has just announced that they are launching what they claim to be the first “in-home” neuro-metrics panel.
According to the story, “The panel equips a sample of consumers with EmSense’s EmBand, an unobtrusive device capable of measuring the positive and negative emotional responses and cognitive engagement of people who wear it.” Further, “the in-home panelists will be equipped with the EmBand wireless headset, as well as a wireless receiver that will be connected to their household computers, which they will use to connect to a special EmSense Web site that will be used to test specific media and marketing communications.”
Obviously, within the process of the rationalization of audience understanding that I’ve discussed a number of times in this blog, and get into in a fair bit of detail in Audience Evolution, these ongoing efforts to drill right into the human brain and extract information for potentially constructing new currencies in the audience marketplace represents perhaps the most dramatic and intriguing direction that this process is taking.
Perhaps the biggest question, though, involves participation. Considering that “single-source” measurement systems have faltered on the basis of recruiting and maintaining representative panels of individuals willing to do what needs to be done to have their media consumption and product purchasing behaviors monitored, it seems reasonable to ask, how likely is it that representative samples of the population will be willing to walk around wearing these?