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Superbowl Study 2020: The Game was Great, But How About that Halftime Show?

CAMBRIDGE, MA, February 2020 - Super Bowl LIV is over, and the reviews are in.  It was a great game.  Close until the very end with a fourth quarter comeback.  What could be better?  We’ll tell you later.  The question remains, who won?  Not the game of course, they keep score for that, but the halftime show!  Who generated more excitement, J-Lo or Shakira?

Fortunately, Shimmer Research and Ipsos did keep score and can answer that question! 

Ipsos recruited an audience of 40 people to watch the entire Super Bowl at a private screening event in New York City, including commercials and halftime show. Participants could bring friends and family in order to recreate a realistic viewing environment, with snacks and beverages. Viewer wore a Shimmer NeuroLynQ sensor to passively capture their galvanic skin response (GSR). That allowed us to measure, passively and in real time, emotional response throughout the whole event, game, advertisements, and halftime show.  We can determine at any moment how big a response the audience was having over the whole four hours.
According to Manuel Garcia-Garcia, Global Lead of Neuroscience at Ipsos, “The uniqueness of this tool lays in its capacity to pinpoint, in real time, exactly the moments that generate emotional arousal. The potential of GSR integrated with other physiological measures, as well as quantitative and qualitative research, is just superior when it comes to evaluating the audience response to sport or political events, entertainment and advertising'.

The Halftime Show Won

Despite the fact that it was a great game, it turns out the halftime show was even better!  We looked at the percentage of people responding (response rate) at any given time throughout the game.  It averaged 41%, a very high figure for an event that lasts four hours.  However, the halftime show had an average response rate of 45% - significantly higher and one of the highest response rates for a sustained period that we have ever measured. The question still remains, who generated more excitement?
Shakira scored a touchdown.  The average response rate to her show was 43%, two percentage points higher than the game itself.  What’s more, the peak response rate during her show topped 88%, during the period where she did the zaghrouta (the tongue thing) and danced close to the camera.


This is an incredible response rate.  To put it in perspective, it was higher than when Kansas City scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.  Figure 1 is a screen shot of the moment when Shakira generated the most response. Shakira’s high point was also higher than at any point during J-Lo’s routine, which topped out at 76% (still a super high figure). Although response to J-Lo never quite hit Shakira’s peak, J-Lo was the winner                                                          Figure 1 High Point During Shakira's Routine

if you look at the average response rate during the entire performance.  J-Lo’s routine generated an average response rate of 46%, three percentage points higher than Shakira and J-Lo had many points in 70+% range.  One example was when J-Lo’s daughter Emme Maribel Muñiz made her first appearance.  (See Figure 2.)

Although J-Lo wearing the flag of Puerto Rico as a cape and the appearance of children in cages has generated some commentary, response rates were strong – but not outstanding in the context of this show.


So, who was the winner?  Depends on whether you judge by the peak excitement or the sustained average.  Of course, when they performed together during the finale, the average response rate was 47% - higher than either of them individually.  We’ll let you decide who actually won!

(Figure 2-right:Emme Maribel Muñiz first appearance)

View Shakeria's live video with NeuroLynQ traces here.

View JLo's Analysis of emotional Peaks here.


About Shimmer

Founded based on Intel technology in 2006, Shimmer is a well-established wearable technologies services and sensor manufacturing company based in Dublin, Ireland. In addition to standard products, Shimmer provides customized sensor development services, volume manufacturing, and complete wearable sensor solutions of any complexity. Shimmer’s technology and services have been employed by thousands of researchers at more than 900 leading companies, universities, and research institutes in more than 75 countries. Shimmer’s technology is incorporated in the products and services of more than 20 original equipment manufacturers. Shimmer has an ISO 13485:2016 certified medical devices quality management system. For more information, visit our website, connect with us on LinkedIn, or follow us on Twitter @ShimmerSensing.

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