What Your Computer Mouse Habits Say About You, According To New Research
You know that scene in Up In The Air when Anna Kendrick is typing really aggressively on her computer and it spooks George Clooney? I can relate. To Anna, that is. A new study has posited that your computer mouse habits can reveal your emotional state, and I totally believe that, honestly. I don't even need to read the study. I mean, I did read it, but I read it and was like, "Yeah, dude, I know. I'm a super loud typer because I'm stressed out a lot."
Recently published in Management Information Systems Quarterly, the study attempted to determine whether you could analyze a person's emotional state based on their mouse movements. Professor Jeffrey Jenkins of Brigham Young University conducted three rounds of the study, with a total of 271 participants. Each round required some sort of annoying stimuli to really get under the user's skin. How can you test whether mouse movements change with frustration levels if the participants aren't frustrated, you know?
Participants faced pages that took too long to load, pages that automatically moved on too quickly, and several other things that are already making me clench my teeth. UGH. The findings?
1. If You're Moving Your Mouse Slowly...
You're experiencing negative emotions! Probably anger-related!
2. If You're Positioning Your Mouse Far Away From The Item You Are Intending To Click On...
You're frustrated! Frustration lessens accuracy!
3. If You're Moving Your Mouse In Shorter, Feathered Strokes...
Yep, you're still mad!
Wanna know how they know? Attentional control theory, or ACT. ACT posits that people experiencing negative emotions, especially those related to frustration, go from being goal-driven to stimulus-reactive, meaning that you transition from focusing on what you want to what's bothering you. SO.
4. If You're Moving Your Mouse In A Succinct Arc...
5. If Your Mouse Accuracy Is High...
You got this! Go click on that thing!
This isn't the only study to have taken a look at what our computer habits say about us, by the way; a 2008 study examined the relationship between mouse and keyboard usage and personality type. And although it seems like kind of a weird thing to zero in on, maybe it isn't; the research so far suggests that we do have a tendency to express ourselves through these mediums, whether we realize it or not. As always, it'll be useful to see more studies replicate the findings or push the ideas further — but in the meantime, let's maybe give our poor mice a rest. It's not their fault our ISP is acting up today.
Images: Mary Rabun/Bustle; Giphy (4)