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HUMAN Impact Projects: Salk Institute studies visitor behavior in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

HUMAN Protocol
May 16, 2023

HUMAN Impact Projects: Salk Institute studies visitor behavior in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

2 min read

What is the optimal position for a piece of art? Which object attracts most interest?

There are patterns in how humans move through a museum. In a new partnership to uncover those patterns, the Salk Institute – a world renowned scientific research institute – has teamed up with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA).

Salk will be leveraging HUMAN Protocol’s network of data annotators to correct and train the algorithm as it seeks to uncover these patterns in human behavior.

The goal, ultimately, is to create a more rewarding museum experience for all visitors, with a more general goal of understanding how people operate in a complex environment.

About HUMAN Impact Projects

HUMAN Impact Projects is an initiative to support scientific research projects to scale and monetize their services to make sure their valuable products may fulfill their potential in benefiting humankind. 

So often, scientific research tools in data annotation are limited by the data annotators they can loop in to complete work. HUMAN Protocol enables this kind of work, at scale, on-chain.

One Impact Project that we are helping is Salk.

About Salk

The Salk Institute for Biological Studies has a “team of world-class, award-winning scientists”, with a suite of Nobel prize winning scientists among the alumni. Their work is dedicated to “unlocking the secrets of life itself”, with a particular focus on neuroscience, human behavior, aging, plant and computational biology, and more.

In the museum

Funded by a $900,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, the study is designed to assess human behavior in relation to a ceramic exhibition at the world renown museum. 

The Salk Institute team has set up 10 cameras around the exhibition to capture the behavior of nearly 100,000 museum visitors.

Source: Salk

Below is a sample of the kinds of behavior being tracked:

  • Facial expressions – a smile, or speech
  • Types of movement – a head scratch 
  • Speed of movement

Integral to making sense of this data, Salk are creating 3D digital constructions of the museum pieces to reconstruct the space itself, and to register people’s behavior in the context of a given exhibition.

Human behavior can now be combined with an appreciation of the complex environment of the museum space, meaning that the study can assess:

  • The piece someone is looking at
  • Whether or not they engage with the item’s descriptions and QR codes
  • The path they follow
  • Whether or not they are in a group

And many, many more factors.

The combination of all of these can begin to form patterns of human behavior. 

What’s the purpose?

LACMA say the goal of the study is “to uncover what environmental factors create the most rewarding experience for visitors and put these findings to use to enhance the educational mission of the museum.”

Beyond this, Salk are viewing the study as an opportunity to “better understand how people perceive, make choices in, interact with, and learn from a complex environment”. That means that, beyond the museum, such research can be used to inform and improve the experience of other daily human endeavor.

Salk scientists will use the data, too, to understand how an environment’s design may impact and improve the cognitive processes and behaviors for people with specific needs, such as “school age children or patients with dementia”.

Why use AI?

Alternative forms of assessing human behavior – such as questionnaires – are often contrived. Answers are skewed by individual perceptions and agendas. 

Using technology to uncover these patterns can give a more accurate representation of the natural way humans behave in a complex environment – rather than how they think they behave.

Using HUMAN Protocol

Salk will use computers to complete an initial annotation of the raw video/image data. They will loop in networks of data annotation Workers from HUMAN Protocol to check the work of the computer.

As the humans correct the images, they improve the annotation algorithm of the computer itself. In turn, this leads to a better, more accurate model to train the computers. Therefore, it can produce more accurate predictions. 

For the latest updates on HUMAN Protocol, follow us on Twitter or join our Discord. Alternatively, to enquire about integrations, usage, or to learn more about HUMAN Protocol, get in contact.

Legal Disclaimer

The HUMAN Protocol Foundation makes no representation, warranty, or undertaking, express or implied, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, or reasonableness of the information contained here. Any assumptions, opinions, and estimations expressed constitute the HUMAN Protocol Foundation’s judgment as of the time of publishing and are subject to change without notice. Any projection contained within the information presented here is based on a number of assumptions, and there can be no guarantee that any projected outcomes will be achieved.

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