Judging the effectiveness of commercials through ratings is passe. These days, the new hipness is to measure people’s biological reactions to advertising. The Times reports that NBC is commissioning firm Innerscope Research for their latest market testing projects. Innerscope’s claim to fame (verbatim from their site) is that they use “state-of-the-art wearable sensors to translate noninvasive measures of brain activity into an easy to inrerpret, time-locked index of emotional engagement.” Alternately, here’s how the Times describes it:
Panelists wear black-netted vests with tubes running out of them. Sensors on fingers measure sweat or “skin conductance,” as the researchers like to say. A monitor picks up on heartbeats, and an accelerometer tracks movement when panelists wiggle in their seats or chuckle. A respiratory band can tell if the abdomen and chest stop moving noticing when someone holds their breath, for example, in a scene of suspense.
The wonders of market research never cease.