What does lust look like? How do people respond to something they find exciting? FaceReader has endless application possibilities. The Dutch television program “Spuiten en Slikken” used FaceReader to measure responses towards explicit erotic images. Spuiten en Slikken is a spicy television show, on a public service channel, that informs their viewers about everything related to sex and drugs. In this current topic, which aired on Tuesday the 24th (warning: explicit content), they interviewed a girl who was asexual. Someone who is asexual lacks sexual attraction to others. Sexologists consider it a sexual orientation, but there is a lot of prejudice towards it. Therefore, the TV show used different ways to figure out what it means to be asexual. One of these was using FaceReader to measure someone’s objective response towards erotic videos.
FaceReader analysed two girls, one asexual and one heterosexual, while they were watching a very explicit erotic video. The asexual girl only expressed sadness, neutral, and some confusion. This clearly indicated that she was not very interested in the content of the video. The heterosexual girl expressed different kinds of emotions. Sometimes she showed happiness, but also some contempt, indicating that not all scenes were to her liking. However, even if it was sometimes negative, overall the images elicited much more emotion in the heterosexual than the asexual girl.
Furthermore, FaceReader also uses a newly developed technique (remote PPG) that measures heart rate from video images (although not shown in the broadcast). This way heart rate is measured without having to attach any (possibly uncomfortable) wearable sensors. Interestingly, the heart rate of the heterosexual girl increased while watching the video, while the heart rate of the asexual girl remained constant. This indicated the asexual girl was less excited by the images.
With this item Spuiten en Slikken promoted awareness and understanding on how someone who is asexual might feel. It also illustrates the useful tools FaceReader offers to measure emotional responses in many different settings.