Sept 2019 (Vol. 59, Issue 3): NEUROMARKETING
Measuring Different Emotions in Children with a Pictorial Scale: A Self-Reported Non-Verbal Tool Measures the Emotions Children Experience when Exposed to Ads
“Emotions play a key role in shaping children’s responses to advertising, but research on these influences is scarce and underdeveloped,” according to Joëlle Vanhamme (EDHEC Business School) in France. Vanhamme partnered with Chung-Kit Chiu, an illustrator and children’s book author to propose a nonverbal, pictorial instrument for children that can assess basic emotions, is particularly well-suited for 8- to 11-year-olds, and can be used by both practitioners and academics around the world without the need for translation.
Chiu, who holds a masters degree in marketing management (Erasmus University of Rotterdam) created the illustrations for what the authors named the “Self-Reported Nonverbal Emotion-Measurement Instrument for Children” (SNEMIC) scale. The tool “consists of a set of pictograms (e.g. cartoon puppets), each representing facial and bodily expressions associated with a so-called basic emotion (joy, surprise, anger, sadness, fear, and disgust), that appear together with a 4-point response format indicating intensity.” Previous pictograms that measured affective states (e.g. the smiley-face scale) are unidimensional and therefore can’t properly measure multiple discrete emotions; neither can multidimensional scales because they focused on underlying components of emotions (arousal, pleasure, and dominance) or were too complex to be used by children.
All sampled children in this study spoke Dutch. The authors encourage future work to “validate this scale in other settings (e.g. usage experience) and in countries with national languages different than Dutch.”
Research also is needed, moreover, “to determine the extent to which the SNEMIC might be suitable for children younger than 8 years,” given that preliminary results indicated an increased liking of the scale among younger children and an ability to recognize basic emotions before the age of 2 years.
A few more takeaways from this study:
- “Emotions are key drivers of advertising effectiveness, especially among children, so advertisers need to measure the emotions that children experience on their exposure to advertising.
- “Conducting marketing and advertising research on children using traditional measures of emotions (e.g. fMRI, EMG, GSR) is neither practical nor cost-effective, and such research often lacks validity and reliability.
- “The SNEMIC is reliable, and valid, and it can support cross-cultural studies without requiring translation efforts.”
- “It is fun for children to use, which contributes to its effectiveness.
- “The scale “also could be used to assess which emotions result in the most effective outcomes in response to different public-policy messages, such as to discourage smoking or to trigger preferences for sustainable products.”