Experimenting with emotions

Dating website deliberately mis-matched users; art gallery ‘sells’ art to the emotional.

Earlier this summer, Facebook admitted it had been conducting experiments on ‘emotional contagion’.  Now OKCupid has announced it has been experimenting on users to find out more about how people rate each other on the site and about how ‘perceived compatibility’ works.

One experiment removed all images from the site, resulting in less activity but an increase in responses to first messages.  Another test discovered that people tend to ignore profile text and base most of their response on profile pictures.  But it is the compatibility experiment which is attracting headlines.  The site told a number of users that they were strongly compatible with people when they weren’t. Users believed what they were told about compatibility, even when the profile evidence was set out in front of them – an example of people incapable of looking beyond a ‘headline’ to analyse or even read the information provided for them!

The emotion of art

Meanwhile in Sweden an art gallery has held an auction of sculptures worth up to 15,000 euros.  However, no cash changed hands.  Instead members of the public were hooked up to heart-rate monitors and their emotional responses to the works measured.  Those with the highest emotional response won the auction.  You can watch a video of how the auction went on YouTube.

This article first appeared on Information Today Europe.

Sources: The Local; The Guardian; Harvard Business Review

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