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modelling and pRedicting Human decision-making Using Measures of subconscious Brain processes through mixed reality interfaces and biOmetric signals

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - RHUMBO (modelling and pRedicting Human decision-making Using Measures of subconscious Brain processes through mixed reality interfaces and biOmetric signals)

Reporting period: 2020-11-01 to 2023-04-30

RHUMBO, a pioneering research project, aims to revolutionize business practices amidst the evolving technological landscape. In this changing world, companies no longer wield full control over media and messaging. Simultaneously, consumers have become increasingly discerning, informed, and proactive, losing trust in traditional approaches.

To address these challenges, RHUMBO has developed a suite of tools and models that utilize mixed reality technologies (MRT) and biometric signals, supported by artificial intelligence, to predict human decision-making in dynamic business environments. The primary focus has been on understanding consumer behavior and psychological states during complex, realistic situations.

The research yielded remarkable outcomes and insights:
1. Digital biomarkers of consumer behavior were successfully developed, using metrics such as eye tracking, navigation, and neuroscientific measures like EEG, ECG, and GSR. These biomarkers could predict consumer facets like demographics and personality traits.
2. Contextual information's influence on consumers' cognitive processes in virtual retailing was analyzed, including factors like product layout and banners affecting stress, confusion, and joy levels.
3. Social cues within virtual stores were found to influence consumer behavior, with avatars adapting based on shoppers' stress levels to enhance the shopping experience.
4. Novel EEG metrics were explored to understand narrative cognition in video advertisements and paintings, leading to increased engagement and shared understanding across subjects.
5. Nonlinear dynamical systems theory was employed to assess cognitive states through observed signals from modalities like fMRI, fNIRS, and EEG, enabling classification of cognitive states and exploring neural substrates.
6. The brain-heart interplay and its role in cognition and emotions were studied, providing insights into emotional responses' physiological basis and opportunities for neuromarketing.
7. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) was used to estimate respiratory rate during physical activity, demonstrating potential applications in stress assessment and sports studies.
8. The uHD EEG system was developed, enabling high-resolution brain activity measurement for various applications like sports science and medical diagnostics.
9. Real-time applications of the uHD EEG system were explored, with wireless streaming allowing for brain activity-based control mechanisms in virtual reality environments, revolutionizing fields like gaming and rehabilitation.
10. More reliable methods to measure emotional and cognitive responses in virtual store settings were developed using EEG-based metrics and facial electromyography, contributing to understanding and measuring consumer responses.

RHUMBO's achievements span scientific, educational, and training domains, nurturing young scientists and disseminating neuroscience-based business methods to various stakeholders. These advancements have the potential to reshape consumer behavior analysis, marketing strategies, and virtual reality interactions.
Project achievements:
- 24 Supervisory Board meetings held over 4.5 years, with one physical meeting per year and Technical Lectures.
- Web portal and distant learning tools set up in 4 months, frequently updated with project news on social media.
- 11 Early Stage Researchers recruited; 5 resigned and were replaced, all contributing to training-through research activities.
- 3 major training events, 2 virtual field trips, and 2 seminars organized.
- 35 journal articles, 35 conference papers, 1 book chapter, and 4 posters published, with an average impact factor of 4.563.
- Timely submission of all deliverables.
- High partner collaboration with 10 joint projects and 21 secondments for 60 months.
- ESRs participated in 49 local training activities.
- Implemented methodologies offer a comprehensive approach for understanding consumer behavior.
RHUMBO has pioneered a novel approach to capturing digital biomarkers of consumer behavior during interactions in virtual stores. The findings reveal the ability to characterize emotional and cognitive aspects of consumers through behavioral patterns, such as eye-tracking, navigation, and interaction.

Moreover, the study delved into the impact of contextual and social variables on consumer behavior. Innovative methods were devised to modulate contextual and social cues, optimizing the customer journey within virtual stores.
Another significant aspect of the research involved investigating the brain-heart interplay and its role in human cognition and emotions. New methodologies were developed to assess ongoing brain-heart interactions, exploring how cardiac signals influence arousal and emotional processing. The results highlight the importance of visceral signals in emotional responses and shed light on the physiological basis of feelings.
RHUMBO's contributions extend to the realm of digital narratives, where they developed methodologies to analyze semantic congruency detection in branding using EEG. Notably, dynamic inter-subject functional connectivity emerged as a key predictor of engagement.
Furthermore, the influence of various aspects of online content was analyzed, revealing that the valence of linguistic content in online reviews holds greater significance in certain product categories' purchase intentions.
On the technical front, RHUMBO successfully created an integrated multimodal system, introducing new requirements specifications and designs for integrated circuits, headwear, and mountings, facilitating highly wearable systems.
Overall, RHUMBO's work has provided valuable insights into Virtual and Augmented Reality from a consumer perspective, meeting the growing need for multidisciplinary efforts to understand the individual, social, and societal impacts of these technologies.
Importantly, RHUMBO's impact transcends various socio-economic and societal dimensions. A deeper understanding of human decision-making in business environments benefits both companies and consumers, enabling more informed and effective participation in the economy. Additionally, the research's implications extend beyond marketing to disciplines like human resources management, education, economic decision-making, clinical research, and brain-computer interfaces. These insights are especially valuable in fast-paced operating environments characterized by stress and uncertainty, and they offer essential guidance for policymakers and business leaders alike.
Experimental room
Hardware development
RHUMBO Decision model
Experimental session