Measuring the perceived to design better experiences: our project with Unifarco

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Cosmetics, Dolomia, objectivity, EEG and perception: what do these five words have in common?

They are all linked to the research project that, in partnership with the University of Padua (specifically with the spin-off Unired), we carried out for Unifarco and Dolomia, the skincare brand of the Belluno company.

The goal: to investigate the pleasure of a daily gesture such as the application of face cream, an experience so subjective that it cannot be measured … or maybe yes?

In this video, it is our Christian Caldato, precisely through the five words with which we began, who gives voice to the story of the project; to follow, our in-depth article on the research conducted to measure the perceived.


Measuring the perceived thanks to neuroscience

In our daily routine we perform a series of small automatic gestures that happen to not pay too much attention. We know that each of these gestures is associated with a cerebral response in terms of both pleasure and involvement. How to measure, however, these experience indicators? In other words, how to measure people’s perception during these activities?

To investigate this issue, we carried out a study on the perception of use of a commonly used product, a face cream produced by Unifarco, a Belluno company specializing in the development and production of cosmeceutical products, dietary supplement and medical aids.

Thanks to the partnership with Unired and the University of Padua, we have combined quantitative and qualitative research techniques to define a research protocol that was controllable, replicable and that would allow us to collect information that, combined together, would be able to give us a “mapping”of the experience. For this study, TSW has therefore combined the perception of people, essential to better understand their impressions, experiences and perceptions, with a series of objective measurements borrowed from neuroscience.

Our technologies and skills to measure the perception of an experience

We compared a Dolomia face cream, the brand being tested, and that of a competitor and we observed and listened to the people involved in the research during the application of the product, to objectively measure their experience.

To do this, and to be able to investigate the involvement of people and their perception of pleasantness, we used electroencephalography (EEG), a brain wave measurement tool with which we mapped the asymmetry in the frontal part of the two cerebral hemispheres, right and left. At the same time, we used a detector that, through the measurement of micro-sweating, gives us an activation value of the nervous system (arousal) attributable to an index of emotional intensity. Thanks to the combination of these tools and their respective indices, we were able to measure a series of values ​​representative of how pleasant the activity was (Motivation index), engaging (Emotional index) and the corresponding emotional intensity (Arousal).

Measuring the perception of an experience

The key element: the people who live the experience

It goes without saying that the measurement of the perceived of an experience such as the application of a cream cannot take place without the involvement of the people who experience that on a daily basis. With this in mind, we have opened the doors of our Laboratory to Unifarco customers (certain or potential) to whom we have provided all the necessary instructions from a technical and scientific point of view for the correct execution of the test.

The protocol, specially optimized for a study involving the application of a cosmetic product, saw the succession of different phases: after a first condition of rest (baseline), people were invited to touch the cream, feel its consistency, apply it on a limited part of the face, wait and then alternately touch the part of the face with the cream and the homologous part without the cream. At the end of the experience, we completed the collection of information thanks to a structured evaluation questionnaire of the pleasantness of the experience of the different products.

The objective perception of experience: the results of our study

Thanks to the results recorded in combination with the evaluations of the people involved, we observed that the experience does not depend solely on the application phase of the product, but on the combination of expectation, application and final effect of the product on the skin. A result to which, thanks to the interdisciplinary approach that characterizes TSW, we have been able to give scientific value and solidity by re-connecting the company, which designs those products, and the people who, through those products, live an experience that can (and must) be of quality.

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5 May 2021 Valeria Giannelli

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