TAMPA, Fla. - As the Democrats debated, 35 students and staff wore sensors that revealed reactions based on how wide and how often their sweat glands opened.
"It is so minute they wouldn't even notice it," said Geoff Gill of Shimmer Wireless Sensing, the company that provided the sensors.
The data was plotted onto line graphs with red and yellow lines. Red shows the percentage of who had an intense reaction, the yellow shows who had a medium one.
"What this says, is this is a moment that came through," said USF marketing professor Robert Hammond.
The three biggest moments were:
3. When Mayor Pete Buttigieg spoke Spanish. 70% in the study had at least a medium reaction, 40% reacted strongly.
2. When Mayor Michael Bloomberg responded to Sen. Elizabeth Warren's criticisms of his company's non-disclosure agreements. 75% had at least medium reactions while 35% had strong ones.
1. When former vice president Joe Biden broke up a skirmish between Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar by saying, "Can I say something please?" 80% at least had medium reactions, with 50% having strong ones.
"This tool has added richness to the discussion," said Hammond.
The key is that people's preconceived notions are cut out. The mind, sometimes, isn't as revealing as the body.
"This is real," said Hammond. "When I ask you what you think. I am getting how you want to be perceived, rather than what you think."
How did all of this translate to who the group thought won the debate? They did a survey before and after.
Warren went from fourth before the debate to first after. Bloomberg went from third to fifth.