Physiological measurements form an important tool within the social sciences and offer the opportunity for more direct and objective measurements. Equipment is however often bulky and cumbersome and cannot be easily moved. The methodology of Ambulant physiological measurement makes use of a new wave of equipment that is more easily moved and can be deployed almost anywhere. Common measurements are heart-rate, skin conductance and breath analyses.
Physiological measurements are a very powerful tool for social scientists. They allow for both the replacement and supplementation of the more traditional questionnaires by more other measurements, for example of excitement, heart-rate, stress and emotional state. Within the BMS lab, the shimmer skin conductance sensors and E4 Empatica watches are often used for this purpose. The latter is also usable as a fitness and movement tracker. Physiological measurements can aid in explaining observations and the classical self-reported measurements by providing an objective measurement to which they can be compared and related. A video or application that is reported to cause stress can be further analyzed by identifying where a participant’s heart-rate rises or their skin conductance increases.
Position often forms an important factor within studies. Whether the movement of participants needs to be tracked, or behavioral patterns are observed, the position and movement of participants can be key in determining research outcomes. Within the assortment of spatial sensors of the BMS lab, we have accelerometers, gyroscopes and GPS trackers. Apart, they contribute to a wide variety of studies. Combined, they offer a full overview of movement and positioning.