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Thomas Bjørnsten

Assistant Professor

Thomas Bjørnsten
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I currently work as an Assistant professor in digital marketing communication. I am particularly occupied with the interdisciplinary research field of emotion and affect data analysis, focusing on new methods involving digital technologies and innovation. Such methods are currently implemented for specific purposes within marketing and behavioural analysis, however, more generally they also concern how we may apply new technologies and techniques to better understand human interaction and communication in a number of  contexts. As part of my work I investigate how different humanities research approaches can contribute to a field that has mostly been defined by computer scientific methods, but for which knowledge about aesthetics, design, and the significance of cultural values is also needed to understand and manuever the complex relations between technology and emotions.   
Much of my research has generally been concerned with the impact of digital technologies in  aesthetic and cultural practices. This was also the scope of my most recent research project (2014-17) entitled "Making Sense Of Data - understanding digital reality through contemporary artistic practices of visualization and sonification” (senseofdata.dk). The project focused on aesthetic and experimental design practices for investigating digital formats, big data, and perceptual coding in data visualisation and sonification and was funded by The Danish Research Council as a Sapere Aude: DFF Research Talent grant. Research findings and development have been developed further through my current and ongoing work with EMDAA - The Emotional Data Lab Aarhus. 
As part of my research in this area I have been a visiting scholar and provided lectures at McGill University, Massachucetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Leuphana University, and Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).


In relation to my general research interests I am associated with the following centers and labs:  

  • AU Datalab. My research focus here is current challenges within multimodal data analysis, especially related marketing research and emotion and affect data analysis.

  • Emotional Data Lab Aarhus (EMDAA). A research and knowledge platform focusing on emotion and affect data. 

  • AU IDEAS pilot centre Literature between Media / Litteratur mellem medier, where my research is focused on the role and importance of digital formats in relation to texts and literature within a contemporary multimodal and multimedial field.

  • AU Center for Sound Studies. My research here is currently concerns the impact of voice and sound driven technologies and interfaces, including the audio-based analysis of emotions and feelings.

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