Discovering the rhyme and reason behind tourist behaviour is a science for which the Griffith Institute for Tourism (GIFT) has launched a cutting-edge laboratory.
The Biosensor Lab offers the ability to combine psycho-physiological biometrics with traditional self-report measures to gain deeper insights into tourism phenomena.
State-of-the-art tools in the GIFT Biosensor Lab include virtual reality eye-tracking, screen-based eye tracking, mobile eye-tracking glasses, facial expression analysis and electro-dermal hardware to analyse physiological and emotional reactions of participants, in real time.
Biosensor Lab Manager and Griffith Tourism Senior Lecturer Dr Anna Kralj said biometrics help us to understand what people pay attention to when wandering around a tourist attraction or venue such as a museum, theme park or airport.
“We can find out how strong an emotional reaction is to an ad, and what type of emotion the ad elicits,” Dr Kralj said.
“We can investigate the experience of travelers finding their way around airports – which signs capture their attention, and which part of the experience is the most calming or most stressful?
“Biosensor technologies detect a person’s physiological reactions to what they are reading, watching or engaging with.
“This could be increased heart rate, a sweat response, or emotions expressed on the face and instead of asking people what they think or feel in a survey – biosensors can measure the reaction happening in a person’s body.”
Griffith Institute for Tourism Director Associate Professor Sarah Gardiner said biosensors help provide deeper insights and provide more reliable data to support survey results.
“We are so proud to launch the new Griffith Biosensor Lab,” Associate Professor Sarah Gardiner said.
“Human behaviour and tourism researchers will be able to expand their portfolio of methodological techniques and take advantage of the laboratory and combine psycho-physiological biometrics to gain deeper insights into tourism phenomena.
“Our students will benefit from the new lab, with the inclusion of case study insights from tourism behaviour research and opportunities to conduct small studies as part of the undergraduate and postgraduate curriculum.”