fNIRS as a method to capture the emotional user experience: A feasibility study

Kathrin Pollmann, Mathias Vukelić, Niels Birbaumer, Matthias Peissner, Wilhelm Bauer, Sunjung Kim

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


User experience (UX) has become a key factor in interface design. Still, so far, no satisfying solution exists for measuring the emotional user experience (UX) during human-technology interaction (HTI) and linking them to design elements of the interface. Non-invasive brain imaging techniques are promising tools to assess the underlying causes and generation of emotional experiences in the brain. Against this background, especially functional nearinfrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a rather new and portable method, appears to have strong potential for measuring UX in real-world HTI settings. However, so far fNIRS has scarcely been used in emotion research. The present research evaluates the feasibility of using fNIRS to detect emotional user responses during HTI by comparing it to the well-established method of fMRI which, due to its set-up, is difficult to use in HTI context. Our feasibility study shows that fNIRS can detect brain activity patterns which are similar to those obtained using fMRI and can be used to distinguished positive and negative emotional reaction in an HTI context and displays brain activities which cannot be examined when fMRI is used. Future research should investigate whether similar results can be found when fNIRS is used in less controlled and more realistic HTI scenarios.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman-Computer Interaction: Novel User Experiences - 18th International Conference, HCI International 2016, Proceedings, Part III
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9783319395128
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Event18th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International 2016 - Toronto, Canada
Duration: Jul 17 2016Jul 22 2016

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Other18th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International 2016


  • Emotion research
  • fNIRS
  • Human-technology interaction
  • Non-invasive brain-imaging
  • User experience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Theoretical Computer Science


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