March 25, 2022

Meet MILO: New lab puts MSU at forefront of biometric marketing and human behavior research

Mary Apel

A new lab in Mississippi State University’s College of Business places students and faculty members at the leading edge of biometric marketing and human behavior research.

College leaders celebrated the grand opening of the Market Innovation Lab and Observatory (MILO) with a ribbon cutting and open house Friday [March 25] in McCool Hall. The new lab contains 12 computer stations fully outfitted with hardware and software for eye tracking, facial recognition and the collection of biometric data. Using platforms developed by the international company iMotions, College of Business researchers can conduct in-depth studies of how individuals react to different media and situations.

“This new lab puts our students at the forefront of the marketing industry, further increasing their job prospects as companies look for marketing and business leaders that can better understand the people that every business is built around,” said College of Business Dean Sharon Oswald. “MILO also represents an opportunity for area businesses to take their marketing to the next level by getting incredibly detailed feedback on how consumers perceive their messaging.

“This lab would not be possible without generous financial support from members of our College of Business and Department of Marketing, Quantitative Analysis and Business Law advisory boards. I want to personally thank them for helping make this transformative project a reality,” she said.

MILO is one of the largest labs of its kind in the southeastern U.S., creating new opportunities for research among faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students in the College of Business, as well as other units across MSU. Each of the stations in MILO are equipped with desktop computers connected to biometric sensors that attach to fingers and ears, as well as electroencephalography, or EEGs that monitor brain activity. The computers are outfitted with iMotions software to track eye movement and facial reactions.

Mike Breazeale, associate professor of marketing, serves as director of the lab and worked closely with Melissa Moore, marketing, quantitative analysis and business law department head, on developing MILO.

“Having a lab like MILO allows us to look beyond the insights gained from surveys and focus groups,” Breazeale said. “Now we have the ability to look at a wide range of biometric data, which captures the body’s subconscious reactions like heart rate, perspiration and certain brain activity. MILO has tremendous potential to elevate faculty-led research and gives students a unique learning experience that will boost their career prospects.”

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