Objective Measures of our Subconscious

The brain processes 400 billion bits of information a second. BUT, we are ONLY aware of 2,000 of those.” (Dr. Joseph Dispenza)

brain image

At any given moment, our brain is receiving a great deal of visual information from our surrounding environment – changes in visual space, colours, shapes, and movement of objects. We take in so much visual information that our brain selectively filters out unimportant visual data and stores it in our subconscious memory.

Not to be dismissed, the subconscious mind has a great impact on our decision-making, thoughts, and behavior. Whether its browsing a website, glancing at an advertisement, or navigating a shopping aisle, visual information filtered into our subconscious memory influences how we react in these environments.

If the subconscious mind affects a person’s behavior with, or perceptions of, an environment (either physical or virtual), then it makes sense to understand it. In this instance, traditional research methods, such as focus groups, depth interviews, surveys, digital analytics, accompanied shops and intercepts, are limited in helping us understand subconscious reactions and behaviors. So, how do we measure the subconscious?

Our eyes process approximately 300 frames per second – processing visual information at every point. By measuring where someone is looking at each frame, allows us to detect elements in the environment that people visually perceive but may not be able to recall or remember – this is what our brain has processed into subconscious memory.

Eye tracking, as a research technique, enables us to measure each individual point at which our brain processes a piece of visual information. Replaying people’s eye movements back to them (a research method known as Retrospective Think Aloud) assists people to become consciously aware of these elements – that is, bringing these elements back into consciousness.

Shopping, for example, is largely a subconscious process, where behavior unfolds as a result of perception of visuals and other cues in the environment. By using eye tracking, we are able to objectively measure how customers respond to these cues, which our brain often filters into the unconscious mind. In such instances, eye tracking has enabled us to capture both the conscious and unconscious response to visual stimuli and provide deeper customer insights and understanding.

Incorporating eye tracking into research studies involving human interactions with systems or environments has allowed us greater insight into people’s subconscious. More importantly, eye-tracking data has provided an objective and more detailed view of actual behavior.

Objective Digital are leaders in using eye tracking technology to uncover unconscious insights which can be decoded to improve the customer experience. Having worked with large financial institutions, telco’s, retailers, travel companies, government bodies and universities, our team is equipped with a wealth of knowledge across all aspects of customer experience.

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One thought on “Objective Measures of our Subconscious

  1. Our eyes don’t process anything at anywhere near 300 frames per second – where such rate designation makes sense.

    There are two visual information processing channels in our visual system: the conscious channel, and the “other” channel. The “other” channel works in continuous time, with a certain latency, and is fed by the photoreceptors from the peripheral vision. Those are sprinkled across the entire retina, with varying density, highest near the foveal region. The notion of processing rate is not applicable here, since it is continuous time! The notion of latency is applicable, and is in the dozens of milliseconds. This channel can, when properly stimulated, respond to quite high-frequency stimuli (above 1kHz) – in spite of its high latency.

    The conscious channel is a discrete-time, sampled channel. It is fed from the foveal (central) region of the retina. The samples are taken after saccades (but not after all saccades), and are triggered by lack of retinal slip of the image – when the image projected on the retina is stable. This channel has a rather low sampling rate – under 10 samples per second! This is also the only channel where the information processing can be controlled and guided by attention itself, and the channel where meanings can be extracted from visual input.

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