How can we measure emotional experiences? In his Ph.D. work at the MIT Media Lab, Elliott Hedman develops new technologies to help designers better empathize with users by measuring emotional experiences through changes in the body (heart rate and skin conductance). He has measured the anxiety of therapy for children with Autism, the frustration of mothers playing Hasbro board games, the excitement of watching the Blue Man Group, and the stress of riding in a Google Self-Driving Car.
His work pushes psychology to pay more attention to individual differences rather than group averages: each emotional experience is unique and valuable on in its own. Elliott also advocates for science to go “out in the wild” where emotional experiences are real and rich. He works towards a future where companies, schools, clinics, and non-profits create awesome experiences.