Brain science won’t help England to Euro 2012 victory

How passionate are football fans from different countries? Are English fans bigger supporters of their team than the French? Brits might say they are naturally, but until now, there hasn’t been any way of proving it.

Lucy Handley

According to Sharp’s FanLabs website, three quarters of English fans are underachievers, but during the competition they are becoming more optimistic. Although by the time you read this, they may be in the doldrums again after being beaten by Italy.

I know this because Sharp, with Work Club, has been putting football fans from all the Euro 2012 participating countries into its FanLabs truck in Warsaw and fitting them up with headsets while they watch a match.

The headsets then collect raw brain wave data, and measures things like emotion and stress and records the volume and pitch of their cheers, according to Richard Dee, a creative technologist at Sharp FanLabs.

This is serious stuff – the headset is made by NeuroSky, and measures eight different brain frequencies. Companies like Nokia and Mattel have licensed the chip. It has even made a headband with cat ears that moves depending on someone’s mood.

So far, the research has found that Ireland and France would rather beat England than any other team and that most fans would adopt Spain if their team gets knocked out.
It also reveals that Spain is the most feared team in Europe, but Germany is the one most fans want to beat.

Sounds like a fun job if you can get it (and are a football fan) – but what is key is what this data then translates into – news stories based on the stats, traffic to the Sharp website and chat among fans. It’s a clever way for Sharp – sponsor of Euro 2012 – to tap into what fans are feeling and how they watch screens, and get them to share what they are thinking on Facebook or Twitter.

Unfortunately most of Europe thinks that England will be knocked out in the quarter finals, and apparently English fans are the least proud in Europe – showing that sadly we will need more than that brain power to help us to victory.


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