Weak signals – are we communicating with our breath? Interconnected – a blog by Matt Webb

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ID’ing movies by fingerprinting the breath for isoprene (Interconnected)

Interconnected

A BLOG BY MATT WEBB

ID’ing movies by fingerprinting the breath for isoprene

16.36, TUESDAY 15 SEP 2020 LINK TO THIS POST

I wonder what gaseous social cues we’re missing, working remotely.

Like, there’s that paper from 2016 about isoprene emissions in human breath…

First, attach a mass spectrometer to the outflow vent of a movie theatre. (They used a theatre for this experiment because it’s a closed box with lots of people in it, amplifying the signal. A good controlled environment.) Then measure the gas quantities every 30 seconds. And:

In Hunger Games: Catching Fire, for example, during the “suspense” scenes–when Jennifer Lawrence was in particular danger–the carbon dioxide, acetone, and isoprene levels in the theater air predictably increased.

The AtlanticEmotions Seem to Be Detectable in AirGo to text →

Check out the graphs in this other article, which continues:  Nearly identical peak-trough-peak patterns occurred during all four screenings of the film in December 2013, allowing the researchers to blindly identify the film just by looking at its unique, air-based fingerprint.

RELATED: you can also tell what someone’s watching by looking at the electricity consumption of the TV. Multimedia Content Identification Through Smart Meter Power Usage Profiles (2012, pdf) shows that if you measure power draw through a smart meter, twice a second, the fingerprint can identify the movie.

Now, it’s not clear whether isoprene changes are signals to one another, or simply byproducts of emotion-based reactions.

But, given an available signal, it would be crazy of the human body to not take it into account.

And if isoprene, then what else? Oxytocin has an effect when delivered into the nose – is it also exhaled, and so passed from one person to another? And other gases in the breath?

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ID’ing movies by fingerprinting the breath for isoprene (Interconnected)