Micro-Expression Coding

Facial Expressions are a Window into People’s Emotions

The ability to measure consumer perceptions and motivations is among the goals for most market research studies. Acquiring these unbiased reactions of consumers’ true emotional response is not without its challenges. The emerging area of emotions research has provided the ability to identify true emotions generating compelling insights for marketing professionals.

While traditional methods rely on consumers’ ability to articulate their own thoughts, indirect methods such as neuroscience and biometric analyses facilitate unfiltered access to consumers’ feelings and perceptions. A methodology that captures unconscious emotions expressed through nonverbal behavior is a critical and insightful tool. Facial coding analysis reveal how people inadvertently convey their true emotions through expressions and micro-movements. Micro-expression coding is among the leading methods for capturing these emotions.

How Micro-Expression Coding Works

Micro-Expression coding can be done in person at a central location where the participants view the stimuli on a laptop or it can be carried out online using respondents’ webcams. The flexibility in the method allows our clients to have a solution that fits their timelines and budgets.

Qualitatively, the combination of micro-expression coding and eye-tracking enable moderators to probe more precisely by seeing changes in emotions and knowing what caused those changes. Quantitatively, micro-expression analysis generates emotional scores that can be segmented by event markers to compare emotions during varying activities such as interacting with a specific webpage, reacting to a particular segment of a TV ad or viewing certain package elements. Micro-expression coding produces emotional metrics for

  • Engagement
  • Anger
  • Sadness
  • Disgust
  • Joy
  • Surprise
  • Fear
  • Contempt

Micro-Expression coding is most actionable when leveraged with eye-tracking and qualitative interviews to get a 360-degree view of advertising impact, packaging, merchandising or website usability.