Frontiers in Psychology (Jul 2020)

Toward Emotion Recognition From Physiological Signals in the Wild: Approaching the Methodological Issues in Real-Life Data Collection

  • Fanny Larradet,
  • Radoslaw Niewiadomski,
  • Radoslaw Niewiadomski,
  • Giacinto Barresi,
  • Darwin G. Caldwell,
  • Leonardo S. Mattos

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 11


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Emotion, mood, and stress recognition (EMSR) has been studied in laboratory settings for decades. In particular, physiological signals are widely used to detect and classify affective states in lab conditions. However, physiological reactions to emotional stimuli have been found to differ in laboratory and natural settings. Thanks to recent technological progress (e.g., in wearables) the creation of EMSR systems for a large number of consumers during their everyday activities is increasingly possible. Therefore, datasets created in the wild are needed to insure the validity and the exploitability of EMSR models for real-life applications. In this paper, we initially present common techniques used in laboratory settings to induce emotions for the purpose of physiological dataset creation. Next, advantages and challenges of data collection in the wild are discussed. To assess the applicability of existing datasets to real-life applications, we propose a set of categories to guide and compare at a glance different methodologies used by researchers to collect such data. For this purpose, we also introduce a visual tool called Graphical Assessment of Real-life Application-Focused Emotional Dataset (GARAFED). In the last part of the paper, we apply the proposed tool to compare existing physiological datasets for EMSR in the wild and to show possible improvements and future directions of research. We wish for this paper and GARAFED to be used as guidelines for researchers and developers who aim at collecting affect-related data for real-life EMSR-based applications.