fNIRS as a method to capture the emotional user experience: A feasibility study
User experience (UX) has become a key factor in interface design. Still, so far, no satisfying solution exists for measuring the emotional user experience (UX) during human-technology interaction (HTI) and linking them to design elements of the interface. Non-invasive brain imaging techniques are promising tools to assess the underlying causes and generation of emotional experiences in the brain. Against this background, especially functional nearinfrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), a rather new and portable method, appears to have strong potential for measuring UX in real-world HTI settings. However, so far fNIRS has scarcely been used in emotion research. The present research evaluates the feasibility of using fNIRS to detect emotional user responses during HTI by comparing it to the well-established method of fMRI which, due to its set-up, is difficult to use in HTI context. Our feasibility study shows that fNIRS can detect brain activity patterns which are similar to those obtained using fMRI and can be used to distinguished positive and negative emotional reaction in an HTI context and displays brain activities which cannot be examined when fMRI is used. Future research should investigate whether similar results can be found when fNIRS is used in less controlled and more realistic HTI scenarios.