How information about food affects facial expressions - measure by Face Reading Technology

Dorota Majchrzak, Katharina Achleitner , Barbara Aumayr, Max Joechl, Lukas Danner, Klaus Dürrschmid

As a nonverbal means of communication, the face plays an important role in expressing emotions. Emotions are known as a central element in the regulation of human behavior and food consumption.
In the present study it has been investigated whether emotional responses of consumers can be elicited by certain information about food and subsequently measured and analyzed by the FaceReaderTM Software (Noldus Information Technology, Wageningen, The Netherlands).
The investigation group consisted of a total of 211 individuals aged 18-30 years. The subjects were divided into four groups and confronted: a) with negative information, b) with positive information, c) with scientific information concerning different food, in addition to the picture of the product and d) a control group, in which only the pictures of the products were displayed on a screen to stimulate certain emotions.
Consequently, it was investigated a) whether these stimuli affect the facial expressions, b) whether facial expressions reflect the type of presented information and c) if correlations exist between hedonic food-acceptance and both emotions and the type of information.
The results show that the descriptive information in addition to the picture of various foods elicits facial expressions, which can be detected by Face Reader Software. However, the emotional responses to the texts and the pictures were rather weak and the expressed emotions usually do not correspond to the type of information presented.
Nevertheless, the results indicate that the food-acceptance was influenced by both, the type of information (positive information led to an improved acceptance) and the kind of emotions (especially angry and sad are suitable to measure dislike).
Based on the obtained results, Face Reader can be recommended for the measurement of emotional responses, especially with real food which is a stronger stimulus and might provoke stronger facial expressions.

Department für Ernährungswissenschaften
Externe Organisation(en)
Universität Wien, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Fachhochschule Wiener Neustadt
ÖFOS 2012
303009 Ernährungswissenschaften
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