Jacek Dmochowski on Measuring Audience Engagement with Neural Signals
Abstract: In this talk, I will present the results of a series of experiments which measure the brain's response to natural stimuli (i.e., film clips) with electroencephalography (EEG). I present evidence suggesting that the amount of across-subject correlation in the neural responses of the audience corresponds to the level of engagement exerted by the stimulus. I propose some neural mechanisms which explain this result, and discuss the role of attention and emotion in bringing about neural synchrony. I also draw on results from functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to demonstrate that higher-order visual and auditory processing regions of the brain comprise the first two "dimensions" of viewer engagement. Finally, I will delve into the practical applications of my technique, tackling the controversial issue of neuromarketing, with some examples of how the neural synchrony of a small group may be used to infer the behavioral response of a large audience.
Bio: Jacek Dmochowski is a Research Associate in the Stanford Vision and Neurodevelopment Lab, where he employs multimodal neuroimaging techniques to elucidate information processing in the human visual system. Prior to coming to Stanford, he was a Post-Doc at the Biomedical Engineering Department of the City College of New York, where he developed a novel multi-channel paradigm for non-invasive brain stimulation which has since been commercialized. He earned his PhD from the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Montreal, Canada, and his doctoral thesis on the localization of sound with microphone arrays was awarded the Canadian Governor General's Academic Gold Medal.