Mouse Movement Reveals That User Is Angry

Posted: Dec 14 2015, 7:23am CST | by , in News | Latest Science News


Mouse Movement Reveals That User Is Angry
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Scientists decode mouse movement into emotional state of user.

Professor Jeffrey Jenkins can tell if you're angry by the way you move a computer mouse.

The BYU information systems expert says people experiencing anger become less precise in their mouse movements and move the cursor at different speeds.

Jenkins and his colleagues can now gather and process enough data points from your cursor movement to measure those deviations and indicate your emotional state.

"Using this technology, websites will no longer be dumb," Jenkins said. "Websites can go beyond just presenting information, but they can sense you. They can understand not just what you're providing, but what you're feeling."

According to his research, when users are upset or confused, the mouse no longer follows a straight or gently curving path. Instead, movements become jagged and sudden. Additionally, someone exhibiting negative emotions moves a mouse slower.

"It's counterintuitive; people might think, 'When I'm frustrated, I start moving the mouse faster,'' Jenkins said. "Well, no, you actually start moving slower."

Jenkins believes the greatest application of his research (and resulting technology that measures mouse movements) is that web developers will be able to adapt or fix sore points in websites that bring out negative emotions.

"Traditionally it has been very difficult to pinpoint when a user becomes frustrated, leading them to not come back to a site," Jenkins said. "Being able to sense a negative emotional response, we can adjust the website experience to eliminate stress or to offer help."

Jenkins' technology has been patented and spun off to a startup company that holds the license. Now he's in the process of refining it, with details of his latest research appearing in the journal MIS Quarterly.

Coauthors on the study include professors from Germany (Martin Hibbeln), Hong Kong (Christoph Schneider) and Liechtenstein (Markus Weinmann). Joseph Valacich, a professor of management information systems at the University of Arizona, was also a coauthor.

Jenkins said the cursor-tracking concept can also be applied to mobile devices, where swipes and taps replace mouse movement. Although he is still in the early stages of looking at mobile devices, he is encouraged by the massive amounts of data phones and tablets are providing. 

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The Author

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/2" rel="author">Luigi Lugmayr</a>
Luigi Lugmayr () is the founding chief Editor of I4U News and brings over 15 years experience in the technology field to the ever evolving and exciting world of gadgets. He started I4U News back in 2000 and evolved it into vibrant technology magazine.
Luigi can be contacted directly at




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