CMU School of Drama

Monday, March 20, 2017

Dolby Labs is using biosensors to learn how we’re reacting to movies and shows

The Verge: The myriad ways in which video and audio impact our brains and bodies have long been studied by academia. But that research isn’t only taking place in university labs: at Dolby Laboratories, the company has been conducting its own internal research into how media can trigger reactions in human beings.


Alexa James-Cardenas said...

I have some mixed feelings about this. I do think that this is amazing and interesting to find how people respond. I feel like that is most of capitalism and entertainment, finding what responds to people and using those key points to draw majority of people in. It also produces an image of how people currently think and what they are more emotionally invested in, meaning we could look at how our society and overall media is either supporting it or the cause of it. As entertainers, this is amazing because it gives us a chance to further connect to our audience, and make a bigger impact, inspirationally, politically, etc. But, there is a part of me that feels like this hardware maybe be a little too invasive in its potential of it being abused to harm people. I mean, the way I know eye-tracking devices being used is for people who are paralyzed, and their only means of communication is eye-movement. I’m not saying that technology should only be used for a definite purpose; I think one of the beautiful things of technology is its potential for humans to use it as creatively as possible. But as technology has further capability to probe at human functions, the more obscure the line of ‘taking it too far’ becomes… :/

Julien Sat-Vollhardt said...

I think this is a long time coming and while I'm not sure it should be specifically Dolby doing this kind of research, I think it should be done. Gaining insights into why we react certain ways to certain scenes, why we identify with one character over another, I think is very useful not only in the industry, but also general human study. Our emotions are so incredibly complex that even psychologists, people who have spent a large part of their lives trying to understand them, come up short. Seeing how we react and why we react emotionally and physically to what happens on a tv screen, in a distilled version of the human experience, is commendable and I think very needed.