Show Me How You Really Feel: Brian Sullivan ’90

Brian Sullivan

Brian Sullivan at Vizbii Inc. headquarters

Imagine leaving an online review without having to write a single word. Thanks to Sullivan, there’s an app for that.

A 1990 PSYCHOLOGY GRADUATE and clinical psychologist, Brian Sullivan is also the co-founder of Vizbii Inc., a technological communication company headquartered in Charleston. Vizbii is home to Morphii, a platform that’s changing the game for measuring emotion in the professional world.

With more than 20 years of experience teaching and working in the counseling center at the College of Charleston as well as in private practice, Sullivan watched as his patients struggled to describe their feelings using traditional scales and typical Q&A formats, sparking the original idea for the Morphii project.

“What I quickly found was that the traditional method, especially when the answer format is a scale with some numbers on it, is too far removed from their actual experience,” Sullivan explains.

His patented solution is a collection of morphing cartoon faces called “morphiis” that are embedded in an analytics database platform. His co-founder, and now wife, Corey Sullivan, animated the idea and then developed several prototypes to perfect the application.

To combat the drawbacks of scales and questionnaires, morphiis are equipped with a sliding scale. Each morphii represents a different emotion — happiness, anger, disgust or surprise — and the scale is used to adjust the intensity of the morphii’s expression. This feature helps the participant account for a much larger range of emotions than the traditional numerical scale.

Morphii can be used in business or health care settings and is incorporated into mobile- and web-based applications to easily capture and measure emotions.

“It’s like an emotional Intel chip inside a computer,” Sullivan says.

Recently, Vizbii has helped big-name brands like Verizon, JetBlue and Capital One incorporate Morphii into development projects. Other clients include a preschool on Daniel Island that uses the application to assess teacher and employee engagement as well as parent satisfaction and a physician in North Carolina who is integrating Morphii into his practice to identify patients who may be on a pathway to opioid addiction.

Morphii’s usefulness across a range of industries has Sullivan excited for the future of his smiling — and frowning — faces.

Check out Sullivan’s TEDx talk on the power of emotion:

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