An Integrative and Comprehensive Methodology for Studying Aesthetic Experience in the Field:
Merging Movement Tracking, Physiology and Psychological Data
Environment and Behavior, 2012
In the interdisciplinary context of the Swiss National Research Project eMotion—mapping museum experience, an integrative methodology for visitor research was developed. The goal was to investigate aesthetic experiences in the environment of a fine-arts museum. The methodology and technical setup merged different data levels (movement tracking data, heart rate and skin conductance, sociological variables, emotional and aesthetic evaluations of specific artworks) into one integrated data set. The merging was achieved online with high spatial and temporal resolution, using data gloves and a wireless network. This data set was used to generate information cartographies of visitors, visualizing their spatial behavior and physiological responses in the environment. In a field study with 576 museum visitors, the methodology was successfully implemented. Significant associations between physiology and aesthetic evaluations supported the validity of the cartographic representations; participants reported little reactivity toward the technical equipment. This methodology appears feasible for environmental behavior research in general.