How can you visualize emotions?

Dóra Kerekes, intern at our Future Heritage Lab, is looking at ways to visualize emotion networks. 

In today’s society it’s not obvious anymore that we share the same cultural background with the people that hold the same passport as we do. The project "Emotion networks" aims to visualise how people with different backgrounds, experiences, genders and ethnic groups might connect emotionally to certain heritage items. Despite of our passport we might think the same way about numerous topics and vice versa.

To illustrate this, we’ve been investigating different methods on how to gather people’s emotional responses, and how that could be accessibly visualised. The current version displays a network that consists of different nodes which represent different heritage items. Each heritage item is surrounded by smaller nodes, each of which represent one individual. The colours of these individuals are based on the emotions of that person, evoked by that specific heritage item. The basic layer of emotions, also known as “basic emotions” consist of Anger, Sadness, Disgust, Joy and Fear. These emotions and their assigned colours were chosen after reading extensively about the work of Paul Ekman, American psychologist who is considered a pioneer in the study of emotions.

For theoretical and practical reasons, we’ve mapped out these emotions in two dimensions. This mapping is based on one of the dimensional models of emotion, called the “Circumplex model”. It was initially developed by James Russel, who suggested to distribute the emotions horizontally based on valence, and vertically based on arousal. Based on these two axis we could add more nuanced layers of emotions, assigning them with unique positions and colours in addition to the basic ones. When a person feels more emotions at the same time, its position is calculated by the average of his/her given emotion data all together. 

To test out how this system works, we asked our colleagues here at Waag to participate in a small survey about bullfighting. We thought it’s the kind of topic that would start a discussion and result in different kinds of emotions. The information they shared with us manifests itself in the first design sketch. Later this structure was developed into a small tool so that the visualisations can be generated based on the data of participants. (see image above)

This research project is held in cooperation with Imagine IC and the Reinwardt Academy. It is also part of my internship as a fourth year graphic design student from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague.  During my internship other visualisations, methods and models are going to be explored further.

Currently we are gathering data through an online form that is part of an exhibition Herdenken op gevoel, about the Bijlmer plain crash 25 years ago, organised by Imagine IC. (On October 4, 2017 it was 25 years ago that an El-Al Cargo plane crashed in the Zuidoost on the flats Groeneveen and Kruitberg). The first results of our visualisations will be presented at Stadsgevoel #3 in October. 


Recente blogs

- donderdag 23 november 2017

De nieuwe richtlijn PSD2 geeft banken mogelijkheid om jouw gegevens te delen met derden. Waarom zouden we ons hier zorgen over moeten maken?

- woensdag 22 november 2017

Fabschool gaf een serie lessen in de 021 Maakplaats in Reigersbos. Kinderen leerden er werken met 3D-printers, lasercutters en ontwerpprogramma's.

- vrijdag 10 november 2017

As the means of digital fabrication become mainstream, the challenge of the maker movement lies in defining its values of sustainability, openness and critical making more visibly, says Marleen Stikker at the celebration of a decade of Fablab Amsterdam.

- zaterdag 04 november 2017

De eerste Fablabs in Nederland ontstonden in 2007, maar we waren al langer op zoek naar een werkplaats voor het maken van prototypen.

- vrijdag 03 november 2017

Het referendum over sleepwet is officieel. Waarom moeten we ons zorgen maken eigenlijk zorgen over deze wet? Nina Boelsums geeft uitleg.