Department of Communication, Michigan State University | CASE Lab, Cognition, Attitudes, and the Study of Emotion | Unpacking Communication

Interdisciplinary Laboratory for research on Cognition, Attitudes, and the Study of Emotion (CASE Lab)

In the CASE laboratory, our faculty are fundamentally interested in the role of emotion on the processes underlying effects of human communication. Our faculty study risk perception, health communication, and mass communication effects—but, we all share a common fascination with emotion as a mechanism explaining impacts of communication.

Facilities

The CASE laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art software and equipment to simultaneously collect neuro & bio-physiological data of behavioral responses through integrated stimulus presentation platforms.

The workstation is equipped with:

  • iMotions 8.0.6 software for time-synchronized, real-time collection of behavioral signals, including: iMotions CORE Module integration and analytics software; iMotions Module – EEG for neural signals collection, iMotions Module – Galvanic Skin Response (GSR), iMotions Module - Screen-Based Eye-tracking, iMotions Module - Facial Expression Analysis – Affectiva.

Hardware includes:

  • 2 Smart Eye Aurora (60 Hz) for screen-based eye-tracking
  • 1 Shimmer 3 GSR kit for Galvanic Skin Response measurements

Eye-tracking devices collect attention data on specified visual areas of interest (AOIs). Information collected includes the time to first fixation or how long it takes for participants to look at an AOI for the first time; fixation duration or how long they looked at each area; fixation count or how many times they look at an area; pupil size and distance to screen are also recorded to assess arousal. However, participants may be interested in specific areas because of mixed emotions (i.e., they may like or dislike what they are seeing). In order to assess their emotional state, facial expression analysis is conducted to detect overall emotional responses (positive, negative, or neutral).  It is also possible to detect basic emotions such as joy, anger, surprise, fear, sadness, disgust, and contempt. GSR measurements complement this set of data by quantifying moments of increased physiological and emotional arousal allowing for a better identification of crucial parts of stimuli presentation. The physiological complexity of the message and mechanism tasks can be illuminated further by using a non-invasive electroencephalogram (EEG) brain scanner. The scanner has the ability to assess cognitive engagement and monitors workload activity in the cerebral cortex by measuring electrical flow of the brain directly from the scalp. The most basic output of the EEG is related to engagement and workload.

CASE Lab Publications