Boffins in Bangladesh have designed a computer program that analyzes typing and text patterns to identify emotional states.
Apparently, the software can detect your mood as much as 87 percent of the time.
According to the journal Behaviour and Information Technology, which we are compelled to buy thanks to its racy cover, A.F.M. Nazmul Haque Nahin and his chums at the Islamic University of Technology think the findings could be significant to the development of emotionally aware computer systems.
The approach relies on less expensive, and less intrusive, methods than tools like voice analysis, facial sensors, thermal imaging, and gesture tracking.
"Combining both keyboard dynamics with text pattern analysis can be more effective to detect user emotion...however, no work has been done on such a combined approach," the scientists say in their paper. "This combined analysis does not require any extra hardware or specialized tools."
The software was tested on volunteers who were told to note their emotional states after typing passages of fixed text, and while writing regular, or "free," text.
The researchers then looked at the data about keystroke attributes associated with seven states (joy, fear, anger, sadness, disgust, shame, and guilt).
Past research into the overlap of keystrokes and emotion has examined actions like typing speed and use of the backspace key. The scientists from Bangladesh considered these and other factors, such as the number of characters typed every five seconds and how much time people lingered on a given key.
"Computer systems that can detect user emotion can do a lot better than the present systems in gaming, online teaching, text processing, video and image processing, user authentication, and so many other areas where user emotional state is crucial," say the researchers.
They are currently trying to work out how to refine the software to make it more accurate.