College of Arts and Sciences

Evaluating the Detection of Emotional Responses

Contact Information

Dr. Andri Gretarsson

Associate Professor


Work: 928-777-3969


The objective of this two-group, quasi-experimental pretest-posttest research study is to determine whether changes in thermal heat readings around the periorbital region of the eyes can be accurately detected during stressful conditions using a specially designed set of eye glasses imbedded with thermal detectors. The goal of this study is to determine if the thermally sensitive eye glasses can be used as a substitute for infrared thermal data collection techniques.

Data on thermal heat readings will be collected using the specially designed pair of thermal sensitive eye glasses designed by Dr. Gretarsson (Gretarsson, 2009). Thermal data will be collected using the computer program MatLab 2009. The study will be conducted on the campus of ERAU with participants recruited from students, faculty, and staff at ERAU and Yavapai College located in Prescott, Arizona. According to a power analysis (Faul, Erdfelder, Buchner, & Lang, 2009), a minimum of 128 participants are needed to test the difference between the control and treatment groups. Assignment to either a treatment of control group will be done using a stratified random assignment technique to control for age and gender.

Three independent variables will be examined in this study including (a) group assignment, (b) age, and (c) gender. The dependent variable will be the thermal heat readings recorded in 1/60th of a second interval in Fahrenheit from around the periorbital region of the eyes during (a) the baseline period, (b) the treatment condition, and (c) the control condition. The thermal heat readings will be an interval variable. The treatment condition will consist of a loud noise of 60 dB which has been shown to automatically produce a physiological response and increase levels of alertness, anxiety, and fear in the subject (Pavlidis et al, 2000). The startle response was chosen because it is a basic emotional reaction which has been shown to mimic those found during deception (Pavlidis et al.). The mean difference in thermal heat readings between the control group and the treatment group will be compared using a standard two-tailed t-test with the significance level set at .05. Age and gender will be analyzed using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) technique.