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Emotionally Sensitive

How are you? I am sure lots of people have already asked you that today, but at the moment, how are you? How do you feel? Happy? Tired? Hungry?

As human beings, we have a wonderful array of emotions we can experience, some of which will be obvious to those looking at us or watching our behaviour. However, many more can be felt within us, without being so easily definable from the outside.

Disney Pixar's 'Inside Out'

In our house at the moment, my daughter is obsessed with the Disney Pixar film ‘Inside Out’. For those of you who have not seen it (once, let alone the hundreds of times I now have!) it is about the emotional development of an 11 year old girl called Riley. More precisely, it is about the activities which are going on inside her head whilst she copes with the trauma of moving to a different state. The film uses the characters (pictured above) Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness to demonstrate the emotions she goes through during this transition.

No prizes for guessing which of the above characters is portraying which emotion though – in true Disney Pixar style, they each have some lovely traits which we can all easily relate to.

However, are you as good at judging someone’s emotion without the help of Disney Pixar artists?

Often, our faces express much of the emotion we are feeling at any given time. But do you realise exactly how much emotion they can convey? Research carried out by Simon Baron-Cohen in 2004, identified 412 discrete human emotions. That is 412 mutually exclusive, semantically distinct emotions that we can experience as a human being. So, where one person may feel hostility, another may break it down into threat, aggression or hate. However, a third person may break it down yet further and identify condescension, contempt and cruelty. So, I ask again, how good are you at judging someone’s emotions?

You see, all day, every day, we are bombarded with advertising materials, many of which contain images of people, and all of those people will have emotions expressed on their faces. But how much attention do you pay to those emotions when you are choosing an image to use?

If you are marketing products or services for a female audience, be mindful that they may be significantly better at reading and interpreting emotions than you think. Statistically, many research studies have concluded that women interpret emotions more accurately and faster than their male colleagues.

So, please be sensitive to what the people in your images may really be saying.

Because the chances are, your audience is!