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The results are in: predicting Best Motion Picture based on emotion profile

Earlier this week I invited the readers of Design & Emotion to participate in a short Emotion Battle, set up by SusaGroup. By looking at the trailers of each Best Motion Picture nominee for Sunday’s Academy Awards, and indicating how it made you feel, we have put together a short interpretation of results and chosen a most probable winner according to the emotion profile. I would like to thank the 182 participants and invite you to read the short interpretation of the outcome below!

This was originally posted at SusaGroup blog:

And the winner is…! We wish it was that easy, measuring emotions means dealing with the complexity of people. This complexity was nicely reflected in our study using the trailers for the Oscar nominees for Best Motion Picture. 182 People participated in our online experiment using our emotion self-report instrument PrEmo. Each participant was shown the movie trailers of each nominee (ten in total) and was asked to indicate to which extend they experienced the depicted 6 emotions while viewing the clip.

In the above image we have plotted the movies and emotions in a 2D space (correspondence analysis). The distance between the movies themselves represents the relation between the movies. The distance between the movies and the emotions represents the relation between them.

What this graphic shows is that the trailer for Precious is clearly more sad then those of most other movies. Similarly, Up is more joyful than some of the other movies. Also, a number of movies kind of clump together in the middle. This means these movie trailers result in similar experienced emotions.

Looking back at the Oscar winners of a few years back, most movies could be described as mixed emotion movies, being both serious and humorous (see for instance No Country for Old Men in 2007 and Slumdog Millionaire in 2008). So it’s nice to see movies with a more positive one-directional emotion profile, such as Up and Avatar to be nominated.

Does this mean these movies are going to win? Hard to say, since the decision is, at least not yet, based on emotional experience. Also, we used movie trailers in our study which may be somewhat different in there emotional experience as the complete movie.

Still, based on the emotion profiles, some movies stand out, as their essence seems to resemble that of previous winners. As mentioned, complex and emotionally challenging movies seem to be more attractive for the award.

Based on that notion, we would say that District 9 and The Hurt Locker are good contenders. Nevertheless, The Hurt Locker shows significantly more fascination as compared to District 9 which was experienced as slightly more boring. We feel that the mixed character, with a positive edge will point out the winner.

We call out the winner: The Hurt Locker!

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