The UF team used an elaborate experimental system, currently under consideration for a patent, to try to narrow the search.
Because metallic or magnetic material can cause fMRI machines to malfunction, no television or sound equipment was allowed in the cylinder-like fMRI machines into which people are inserted. As a result, the researchers deployed a series of projections and mirrors to allow subjects to watch commercials. Sound reached them via tiny plastic pipes, similar to headphones once common on airplanes, rather than wires.
The 12 subjects also had hand-held devices that enabled them to report their feelings via a system called Attitude Self Assessment Manikins a version of the UF-developed Self-Assessment Manikin, or SAM. The AdSAM system lets viewers describe how they are feeling and the strength of those feelings by clicking on projections of people-like icons, a process that Morris characterized as more direct than translating feelings into words. Morris uses the AdSAM system in his work as a consultant to advertisers.
Researchers showed the subjects three television commercials advertising Coke, Evian and Gatorade, respectively, as well as an anti-fur commercial and an ad promoting teaching. To guard against preconditioned response, all the ads were at least 10 years old.
The researchers compared the activity in the subjects brains as recorded by the fMRI machines to their reported responses on the AdSAM system. With several of the ads, they found the fMRI data and response converged on two of three measures pleasure-displeasure and excitement-calm. Under the AdSAM system, these bipolar dimensions as well as a third, dominance-submissiveness form the foundation for more specific emotions.
Where the researchers compared the AdSAM data on pleasure-displeasure and excitement-calm to the fMRI data, they found simultaneous spikes in four different and
|Contact: Jon Morris|
University of Florida