The frustration associated with inserting a USB plug can be used to measure emotional maturity. When assessing a candidate’s EQ, researchers are often frustrated by skewed results that arise from questionnaires, situation modelling and the like. New research into the effect of physical associative emotional responses, or PAERs, reveals a reliable indicator of how an individual can deal with conflict.
“We found that the common problem of finding the right way to insert a USB elicits predictable responses in candidates. We find anticipation, disappointment, frustration, resignation, relief and even pleasure,” says Marcus Ryan, psychological researcher at Farnham and Associates.
By using electrodes placed on the subject’s scalp, the researchers are able to detect ‘micro-emotions’ that arise as physical situations develop. By measuring the length of time, amplitude and appropriate sequencing of the response, researchers can more accurately measure a subject’s ability to cope with their environment.
“The results scale fairly well. We’re trialling other physical situations, like waiting for toast to pop up from a toaster, or a turning a key that is a bit stuck, or navigating a web page with a mouse that doesn’t track properly. If all goes to plan, we may have our subjects reliably analysed before they even finish their orientation.”