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Geographic Mapping of Emotions 39

datafr0g writes "New Scientist has an overview of a project that maps emotional responses to geographic locations. Emotions are read from an individual using a Galvanic Skin Response Sensor. This data is combined with that from a GPS Receiver and the results can be viewed with mapping software such as Google Earth to show where the emotional highs and lows of the day traveling were spent. Points of significance on the map could also be tagged with more info by the user, which could make the information even more useful for town planners, architects, etc. From the project site: 'Bio Mapping is a research project which explores new ways that we as individuals can make use of the information we can gather about our own bodies. Instead of security technologies that are designed to control our behaviour, this project envisages new tools that allows people to selectively share and interpret their own bio data.'" I like the concept of architecture designed with emotion in mind, but galvanic skin response might not be the most accurate way to read "emotion" -- it might show that joggers are just as happy as sunbathers.
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Geographic Mapping of Emotions

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  • by PurifyYourMind ( 776223 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:18PM (#15713467) Homepage
    Years ago at a sports psychologist's office I had these skin-response devices (among other things) attached to me while I was told to close my eyes and imagine being in a relaxing natural setting. It was neat to see my brain activity mapped out on a monitor and change drastically because of those thoughts. So not only do real places affect us, but imagined ones as well.
  • Yay! (Score:4, Funny)

    by growse ( 928427 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:28PM (#15713515) Homepage
    Every day, we see more and more silly things to do with GPS and Google Earth. I, for one, embrace silliness.

    Soon, we'll be able to draw big maps of the earth showing which countries are happier than others. There could be league tables of happiness, angryness, sadness, fear etc. Maybe entire gambling rings....
  • Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <wgrother.optonline@net> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:35PM (#15713552) Journal

    Who thinks I need a map to tell me where I'm happy and sad and so forth day-to-day? Let's cut to the chase: Happy - in front of the TV watching baseball or Law & Order; Unhappy - work; Angry - commuting.

    Just because we have certain technologies does not mean they should be combined to created mindless information for mass consupmtion. Are we going to end up with the Google Happy Zone, with a Google Earth map with little emoticons all over it? Are the going to link this to your IM so people on the other end of your messages know your mood? All this is a high-tech version of the 70's mood ring.

    • Actually, this could be interesting, depending on how it's used. Now, provided it's kept anonymous, and you can get a statisically representative sample, say you measure the "fear" response, and map it out. Now, instead of dispatching your cops out to where the crime has already happened, you can send them out to reinforce areas where people feel unsafe.
      • Except that you won't be able to tell the difference between normal fear and irrational fear. I doubt there will be that much granularity. After all, won't roller coaster junkies give off some fear emanations as they are riding, even if they are experienced? That's a lot of what's behind the adrenaline junkie is the rush of overcoming their fear. I doubt we want to dispatch cops to Six Flags or Walt Disney World based on this kind of technology. And the fact is, a fear response probably wouldn't be triggere

        • Re:Pointless (Score:2, Insightful)

          by kassemi ( 872456 )

          Ultimately, this is more a research tool than a useful application of technology.

          I can see quite a few useful applications for this. Perhaps not for police dispatch, but I'm sure the two companies that you just mentioned (Six Flags, Disney World) would love to figure out where their entertainment was lagging behind... Tour guides could figure out what spots they should put on their tours, etc... Heck, a few UI programmers I know wouldn't mind determining what parts of certain applications were a little

      • Re:Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mrxak ( 727974 )
        It could be good for the tourist industry too. "People are 67% happier at X Resort than Y Resort!"
      • Why keep it anonymous? If this was done on a micro-level (as opposed to macro) and combined with GPS, this could be quite useful for a teen who has to tell his or her parent that he/she wrecked the family car. "I'll just wait until Dad is in his happy place."

        This could also be useful for timing when to ask your boss for a raise, breaking up with someone, etc.
    • Any idea when the new Law 7 order seasons start?
  • by novus ordo ( 843883 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:35PM (#15713553) Journal
    "Honey, what is this redlight district?"
    • *happy* "huh?"
      *guilty* "Oh that redlight district?"
      *evasive* "I'm not sure"
      *sincere* "I think that was the same town I was in, yes"
      *evasive* "But I was only there on business"
  • by IorDMUX ( 870522 )
    it might show that joggers are just as happy as sunbathers.

    Though I can't say I put much faith in the readings of the E-Meter-wannabe, I don't understand the logic behind the above statement. It seems to suggest that joggers are supposed to be less happy... ... having done both of the above, I'd say that the former is much more enjoyable than the latter.

    Exercise induced endorphins, anyone?
    • If we go solely by galvanic skin response, would someone running for his life from an axe-wielding psychopath scan as happier than someone relaxing in a backyard hammock listening to his favorite album?
    • Both are boring as far as I'm concerned, though of course the right scenery (especially when sunbathing) could change that.
    • "I don't understand the logic behind the above statement"

      I think that the OP was implying that both joggers and sunbathers "sweat buckets". Sweat is salt water and salt water is a good electrical conductor, therefore both groups would have lower than normal electrical resistance on the surface of their respective hides, regardless of their emotional state.
  • It sounds like nothing more than a type of polygraph applied to a person's view of certain countries. Think of DeNiro in "Meet the Parents" grilling Ben Stiller: "So... have you ever considered a vacation to... Somalia? Or how about Belize?"
  • by wishus ( 174405 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @01:51PM (#15713652) Journal
    it might show that joggers are just as happy as sunbathers.

    I would venture to say that joggers are as happy as sunbathers. Maybe I'm outside the norm here, but I'd rather be jogging than sunbathing. Just like I'd rather be coding than watching TV.

    There is a feeling you get in the middle of a good run that is euphoric. You feel like you could run forever. It's a happy feeling.
    • Even without getting runner's high, I'd rather be out doing something than just lying there getting sweaty.

      (I've gotten actual runner's-high euphoria once, perhaps twice. Usually it's just more slogging.)
    • Having done both, I'd have to say that I'd rather watch sunbathing joggers than do either...

      Running is work. And sunburns aren't terribly fun. Watching pretty girls, though...

      My guess is that this is what they had in mind when they were talking about sunbathing. Its not the sunbathing that's fun. Its the people around you who are also sunbathing that make it fun.
  • Does this remind anyome of "aura" in Sim City? You can see a map of the happier and unhappier parts of your city so you can figure out what to build where.
  • check it (Score:2, Interesting)

    The information age is upon us. []
  • US map? (Score:3, Funny)

    by 192939495969798999 ( 58312 ) <> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:13PM (#15714142) Homepage Journal
    My first impression of that headline is a huge map of the US with smiley faces everywhere but here!
  • by Chabil Ha' ( 875116 ) on Thursday July 13, 2006 @03:22PM (#15714189)
    I don't want to sound like I'm trolling, but what relevence does this acutally have? For instance, the sum of everyone's emotions on a particlar spot I would imagine would equal zero. This is because what makes one person happy, may make another sad, etc. How does any of it make sense through all the emotional noise? For example, the sight of a tall sky scraper may seem like an awe inspiring feat of engineering to one, whilst it is a tearful reminder of the potential destructive force of a rag tag band of terrorists to another. How does all the subjectivity produce any meaningful results?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Check out this emotional guide to the internet: We Feel Fine [] An exploration of human emotion, in six movements. This is a very interesting Web 2.0 website that harvests emotion information collected in Blogs and organizes it in many ways for easy visualization.
  • by benj_e ( 614605 ) <> on Thursday July 13, 2006 @05:42PM (#15714984) Journal
    Slashgeo (a site for us geospatial types) reported this in May. You can see it here [].

System checkpoint complete.