Objective Emotional Assessment of Perceivable Wellness Effects

Wellness concepts currently have conquered virtually every consumer product category. However, because wellness relates completely to subjective perception, it is difficult to prove that a product positioned in this way is not simply marketed as such, but actually shows a perceivable enhancement in the consumer’s well-being. Even a fine-tuned subjective assessment based on language cannot provide for a holistic determination of well-being, because such procedures are always subject to voluntary or involuntary “faking” and do not consider the often uncontrollable emotional dimensions that strongly influence supposedly objective perception.

To account for this challenge, the authors have recently developed a unique methodological approach based on the measurement of psycho-physiological parameters such as skin conductivity, heartbeat, electrical muscle signals and blood circulation in and near the skin

All of these physiological reactions are the result of unconscious mental processes that cannot be controlled. Thus, from such measurements, the emotional state of test persons can be inferred with high accuracy and without the need to ask volunteers directly. From a temporal point of view, these processes are generated much earlier than human speech; thus, they provide a direct and elementary insight into the psyche of volunteers.

The authors have successfully introduced this approach as Objective Emotional Assessment (OEA) in recent studies on cosmetic applications, where it proved to be a suitable methodology for objective evaluation of emotional consumer response. This procedure provides information on the overall physical and mental level of contentment or disaffection. With OEA, one can substantiate product claims strongly linked to well-being.

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