Video technology keeps evolving, and this constant evolution creates new tools for social scientists to collect data and study situational dynamics during events and processes. One such innovation is thermal imaging cameras.

Thermal imaging recordings are able to capture states of body heat and changes therein. This allows researchers new insights into people’s emotions, because during emotional arousal the body produces more heat. Hence, the technology enables us to track the arousal states of individuals and groups during interactions.

A recent project by photographer Roselena Ramistella illustrates this opportunity. For her series “the Warmth,” Ramistella interviewed refugees and asylum seekers in Sicily, and documented not only their stories, but also filmed them with a thermal imaging camera to capture the emotions her interviewees felt while telling those stories. The videos capture the changing pigments of people’s faces and bodies as the photographer asks them questions about their lives and experiences. You can find a story on Ramistella’s project here.