Did you invent your own system to taxonomize human facial movements?

No, our taxonomy is based on long-standing research that has established that there are seven basic emotions that are universally expressed and recognised by humans. These are happiness, surprise, anger, sadness, disgust, fear, and contempt. This has been widely accepted as the de facto standard in psychology for years.

Our platform measures happiness, surprise, sadness, disgust, fear, and contempt, but we also measure confusion instead of anger. Confusion is not one of the seven basic emotions, but having analysed thousands of ads, we realised that anger was almost never elicited. Instead, we were seeing a similar expression - the same movements of the eyes and the eyebrows as anger, but different movements around the mouth - confusion. People rarely get angry at ads, but they do often get confused, so confusion replaced anger on our roster.

Additionally, we measure a series of proprietary metrics derived from those emotions and our own research, which can be used in conjunction with the basic emotions to gain deeper insights into the videos we test. These are:

  • Engagement: a measure of whether participants have any expressive reaction to a stimulus.
  • Valence (Net Positivity): a measure of whether a reaction is more positive or negative. This measure helps to elucidate the emotional “tenor” of the viewing experience by deducting Negative from Positive.
  • Negative (Net Negativity): a measure of whether participants are showing an emotion classified as negative.
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