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The effect of thermal stimuli on the emotional perception of images

Akazue, Moses and Halvey, Martin and Baillie, Lynne and Brewster, Stephen (2016) The effect of thermal stimuli on the emotional perception of images. In: Proceedings of the 34th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, New York.

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Thermal stimulation is a feedback channel that has the potential to influence the emotional response of people to media such as images. While previous work has demonstrated that thermal stimuli might have an effect on the emotional perception of images, little is understood about the exact emotional responses different thermal properties and presentation techniques can elicit towards images. This paper presents two user studies that investigate the effect thermal stimuli parameters (e.g. intensity) and timing of thermal stimuli presentation have on the emotional perception of images. We found that thermal stimulation increased valence and arousal in images with low valence and neutral to low arousal. Thermal augmentation of images also reduced valence and arousal in high valence and arousal images. We discovered that depending on when thermal augmentation is presented, it can either be used to create anticipation or enhance the inherent emotion an image is capable of evoking.