The Behaviour Psychology Field Lab represents a different approach to how we study user behaviour, combining well-known ethnographic methods with the latest technology within psychophysiological measurements.

17 July 2018

The uniqueness of the psychophysiological technology used in the Behaviour Psychology Field Lab is its mobility. This means that data now can be collected in the users’ natural environment, were previously psychophysiological studies were tied to a stationary lab facility.

Behaviour Psychology Field Lab

The purpose of the Behaviour Psychology Field Lab is to offer a broad range of companies a far more precise knowledge of their customers’ and users’ behaviour based on factual data.

The field lab has already generated a broad range of experience and knowledge regarding the use of psycho-physiological measurements in conjunction with ethnographic methods. A valuable experience from working with the new technology combined with ethnographic methods is that you can obtain a much better foundation for decision making based on factual data rather than estimates and assessments. This and future important findings will be further developed in to value-creating tools and available to a broad range of companies in different industries.

EEG equipment records and analyses our mental strain. For instance, this could be when we solve tasks. The equipment measures the mental workload when we operate devices or machines or our level of excitement or commitment when choosing products or carrying out monotonous work.
ECG equipment measures heart rate. This way we can learn about unconscious reactions to stimuli, for instance a potential danger. The EKG equipment is used for testing a person’s emotional state (neutral, happy, stressed, sad) in various situations.
Eye-tracking is glasses recording and analysing what we are looking at, in which order and for how long. Eye tracking is, for instance, used for investigating how we operate machines, how we understand manuals and instructions, how we find our way, and what catches our eye in a shop.
Facial expression uses a webcam to record and identify small changes in our facial mimic that occur as a result of changes in our emotions. These changes can be analysed, indicating possible emotional reactions to stimuli.
GSR equipment measures the activity of the sweat glands in our hands which can indicate if something makes excites us or makes us anxious. GSR equipment can be used for measuring joy or fear in relation to experiences in an amusement park, or how relaxed we are when operating complicated or large machines.

Mobile and factual measurements

One of the big advantages in regard to the use of these technologies is that they are mobile and can thus be cleverly used in in-situ studies out in the field. By using the equipment on people on the move it is possible to study their emotional reaction in the scenario - a reaction that otherwise would be difficult to observe and gain access to via the person’s own verbal reporting.

The technologies thereby contribute with factual data about the person, which we would not normally have access to. This data, combined with our psychologists’ observations and interview techniques, provides new understanding and insights about people which we would not be able to obtain otherwise.

Based on the experience we have obtained with the use of the psychophysiological technologies, we have developed specific ethnographic methods which can be advantageously combined with these technologies.

Tested in several industries

The psychophysiological studies should not be seen as a replacement for traditional methods, e.g. qualitative and quantitative studies, but as complementary and a way by which you can obtain a considerably better factual basis for decision making.

The technologies and methods are currently being tested in the field lab via studies within the following areas:

  • Maritime industry: usability studies of new solutions within e-Navigation. The studies include good examples of the application of the methods and have proved the big advantages that are connected with combining technologies with traditional data collection methods. For example, data from the eye-tracking equipment has shown how the users actually use interfaces in connection with e-Navigation, giving rise to suggestions for changing the screenshots with a view to increasing the user experience.
  • Land transport: studies of lorry drivers and their behaviour while driving. The use of the new technologies has strongly contributed to our psychological analyses, results and actions that support the development of visual observation material.
  • The medical industry: usability studies of medical devices, instructions for use (IFU) and labels. Especially, studies of IFUs benefitted.
  • The retail sector: studies of store interiors and store personnel’s behaviour towards the customers. The use of technologies to collect data and make observations along the way in these studies has resulted in specific recommendations from the field lab regarding for example signage, labelling, and product placement. The field lab has also been able to give recommendations for changes in behaviour among store personnel based on the customers’ needs, questions, confusion and wonder.

Based on the experiences from the above studies, the Behaviour Psychology Field Lab is ready to develop new types of psychological services which can be put to great use in many different industries.

Experiences and amusement parks are the next focus point

In the future we would like to develop our focus to also include the service, entertainment and experience industries. Specifically, we would like to carry out user experience studies of amusement parks, entertainment, tourism and culture offers, but digital experiences such as gaming, music, film and TV are also relevant areas for such studies.

Here, the use of new technologies can contribute to an understanding of how the consumer experiences a certain product or service. The use of psychophysiological technologies in such studies will provide a unique insight into the consumer’s emotional reactions throughout the experience. The results from these studies can give the companies valuable input into what it would require to increase the consumer’s positive experience of their service or experience product.