We’re not far off from a time when everything people do in public will be videotaped at all times. How does this shift impact the way people behave in public? Or does it? We asked 50 people across the country to weigh in - with a twist. Using mindswarms, we had people speak on video about their feelings regarding this shift. Then, we had people record their feelings on the topic WITHOUT ALLOWING THEM TO USE WORDS - we only permitted gestures and body language.
What we found through the video responses was that while people SAY they are not concerned about the proliferation of surveillance cameras in public, their body language indicates a much deeper fear, distrust and level of anxiety than their words.
As researchers, what more can we learn about human behavior through nonverbal expression? Mobile video is a medium that allows us to connect with people on a level beyond verbal communication, providing another layer of data and resulting in deeper findings.
Why not use words?
We prompted a straightforward, verbal video response from respondents around how their behavior might change if they knew they were being videotaped at all times. However, we also wanted to take advantage of the mobile video format of the mindswarms study and thought we’d give a nonverbal question a try, for the sake of experimenting with the platform and a new research methodology. So, in their second answer, respondents were only allowed to use body language and gestures – no sounds. The responses we got back were not only extremely expressive, but deeply insightful as well. The speech center is located in the left hemisphere of the brain – the left side tends to be more logical and rational. However, by limiting consumers’ responses to gestures and body language only, we wanted to understand what the right hemisphere might reveal on its own, without having to pass through the left side.
What people say - “It doesn’t bother me!”
In short, while people SAID they wouldn’t really be bothered by the idea that all of their actions were being videotaped at all times – largely because they say they have nothing to hide – their body language replies surfaced their deep-seated fears.
If everything I did was being recorded, everything I did in public, my behavior would not change, I don’t believe so, because I don’t act in any way for any certain people. I act the way I do because I want to.
I don’t really do anything weird when I am out in public. So my behavior probably wouldn’t change very much.
For me personally, I don’t really do much that would cause controversy, and I’m always trying to act my best at all times.
The unconcerned sentiment in these responses surfaced a connection that people make between their everyday behavior and its reflection of their moral compass, or how “good” of a person they are. In a full response to this question, respondents commonly articulated a whole thought process, making a connection between the two.
If I was being recorded all the time, I don’t think it would change my behavior because I don’t think that in public I’m doing anything wrong or something that needs to be in private. It would just make me kind of look over my shoulder more and feel like I’m constantly being watched, which I don’t think would be the greatest feeling. I think that would kind of give me anxiety. So, maybe in that regards, I would kind of act out my anxiety. Because no one likes to have someone just watching over your shoulder all the time. But if you’re not doing anything wrong, it shouldn’t change your behavior. So, unless if you’re doing something wrong, I don’t think it would change my behavior at all.
After thinking about this question and talking through their thoughts, the common perception was,
People reveal Anxiety & Insecurity
While people verbalized that they feel confident that their actions are nothing but ordinary, their body language expressed otherwise. Respondents were presented with this prompt, Without using any words or sounds, show us how you would feel emotionally knowing everything you did in public was videotaped at all times? (You can use your hands too!). Watch the video below for a highlight reel of the findings.