Understanding the Performance Metrics Detection Suite

Performance Metrics Introduction

The Performance Metrics Detection Suite reports real time changes in the subjective emotions experienced by the user. Emotiv currently offers five performance metrics detections: Engagement/Boredom, Frustration, Meditation, Instantaneous Excitement, and Long-Term Excitement. The Performance Metrics detections look for brainwave characteristics that are universal in nature and don't require an explicit training or signature-building step on the part of the user. However, individual data is collected for each user and is saved in the user's profile while the performance metrics run. This data is used to rescale the results and improve the detection accuracy over time. For this reason, it is very important that a new user profile is selected when a new user uses the neuroheadset. 

Understanding the Performance Metrics Tab Display

The Performance Metrics tab contains two graphs which can be customized to display different combinations of detections and time scales. By default, the top chart is configured to plot 30 seconds of data for the Engagement, Frustration, Meditation, and Instantaneous Excitement detections. The bottom chart defaults to display 5 minutes worth of data for the Long-Term Excitement detection. The values that are plotted on the graphs are the output scores returned by the Performance Metrics detections. 

The controls to the right of the charts can be used to select the detection output to be plotted. The Display Length edit box allows you to customize the time scale for the associated chart. 

Performance Metrics Detection Details

Instantaneous Excitement is experienced as an awareness or feeling of physiological arousal with a positive value.  Excitement is characterized by activation in the sympathetic nervous system which results in a range of physiological responses including pupil dilation, eye widening, sweat gland stimulation, heart rate and muscle tension increases, blood diversion, and digestive inhibition.

Related emotions: titillation, nervousness, agitation

Scoring behavior: In general, the greater the increase in physiological arousal the greater the output score for the detection.  The Instantaneous Excitement detection is tuned to provide output scores that more accurately reflect short-term changes in excitement over time periods as short as several seconds.

Long-Term Excitement is experienced and defined in the same way as Instantaneous Excitement, but the detection is designed and tuned to be more accurate when measuring changes in excitement over longer time periods, typically measured in minutes.

Engagement is experienced as alertness and the conscious direction of attention towards task-relevant stimuli.  It is characterized by increased physiological arousal and beta waves (a well-known type of EEG waveform) along with attenuated alpha waves (another type of EEG waveform).  The opposite pole of this detection is referred to as “Boredom” in Emotiv Xavier and the Emotiv API; however, please note that this does not always correspond to a subjective emotional experience that all users describe as boredom.

Related emotions: alertness, vigilance, concentration, stimulation, interest

Scoring behavior: The greater the attention, focus and mental commands workload, the greater the output score reported by the detection.  Examples of engaging video game events that result in a peak in the detection are difficult tasks requiring concentration, discovering something new, and entering a new area.  Deaths in a game often result in bell-shaped transient responses.  Shooting or sniping targets also produce similar transient responses.  Writing something on paper or typing typically increase the engagement score, while closing the eyes almost always rapidly decreases the score.

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    Michel Vandersmissen

    What does Valence measure?

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