Your cursor can tell if you are angry

Tuesday, Dec 15, 2015,13:27 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

Washington | The movements of your cursor could tell if you are angry or frustrated, according to scientists who found that negative emotions alter how you move your computer mouse. According to Jeffrey Jenkins, professor at Brigham Young University in US, people experiencing anger and other negative emotions – frustration, confusion, sadnes become less precise in their mouse movements and move the cursor at different speeds.

Thanks to advances in modern technology, researchers can now gather and process enough data points from your cursor movement to measure those deviations and indicate your emotional state. 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, he said.

According to the 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.

Jenkins said that 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, he said. Jenkins said the concept can also be applied to mobile devices, where swipes and taps replace mouse movement.