What do the Neurons AI scores mean?

This article explains the cognitive & sentiment scores you can generate with Neurons AI.

Focus_Icon  Focus score

Focus is an index of focused attention in an image or a video.

In other words, it is an index of how large a portion of your asset draws attention. It also indicates the level of consensus between viewers on where they will spend their time looking at an image or video frame. If your image or video has many items that draw attention, people are less likely to focus on any single part of the asset.

How do I interpret Focus scores?

  • Low Focus scores (0-24) are achieved when attention is scattered across the image or video frame. In this case, viewers look at many different areas of the asset, but will most likely not see them all. When attention is scattered, you have very little control over which areas and elements your audience will see on your asset.
  • High Focus scores (75-100) are achieved when a single or very few narrow areas draw most of the visual attention. In this case, attention is very focused on one single element or just a very few elements. Your audience will very likely see this or these elements when exposed to your asset.

How is Focus calculated?

The Focus score summarises the attention distribution, as characterized by the Attention Heatmap, in a single number computed in a deterministic fashion from the attention distribution. In a nutshell, we first compute the sum of all pixels in the Attention Heatmap, and this is subsequently divided by the number of pixels in the map. We then convert the resulting number to a percentage and apply an inverse sigmoid transformation to yield a Focus score in the range of 0 to 100.

In layman's terms, the Focus score is dictated by the area occupied by the spread of the attention hotspots or "blobs". As such, the Focus score is higher when the attention blobs occupy a smaller fraction of the image. Conversely, if they are more diffuse and spread out, the Focus score will be lower.

Theoretically, a Focus score of 100 would have all of the attention focused on one pixel. In contrast, a Focus of 0 would mean that all the attention is evenly divided across the entire image or frame.

You can also think about the Focus score as the index of how much people will look at specific areas of your asset in relation to the total size/area of your asset.


CognitiveDemand_Icon  Cognitive Demand score

Cognitive Demand measures the amount of visual information viewers have to process while looking at your asset.

When images and videos are more visually complex, the corresponding Cognitive Demand score will be higher, resulting in increased perceptual load. Complex images might heavily draw on our working memory, making them very difficult to remember, even temporarily.

The score is based on a measure of visual complexity and entropy, and has been independently validated by correlating the score with brain-based (EEG) measures of Cognitive Load.

How do I interpret Cognitive Demand scores?

We use Cognitive Demand to understand how an image or video will be received. Ideal Cognitive Demand scores may vary for different contexts and stimuli.

  • Low Cognitive Demand (0-24) indicates that an image or video frame is simple and very easy to process, however, this can make the viewer spend less time looking at your asset as it is very easy to process.
  • High Cognitive Demand (75-100) makes it harder to find single elements in an image and makes it harder to understand the image as a whole, and it requires more processing power of the brain (Cognitive Load). High Cognitive Demand can be more stressful and can leave negative emotional effects and makes visual information harder to remember.

Tip: If you want to improve Cognitive Demand in your image, you can use the Cognitive Demand heatmap to help you understand which elements are contributing most and least to your score.

How is Cognitive Demand calculated?

For over a decade, Neurons has been collecting data on the amount of information in consumer experiences  - especially with methods such as eye-tracking and EEG brain scanning.

Since 2013, we have been working on an automated measure of visual complexity and how this relates to cognitive load (i.e., the overall workload of your brain). 

We have improved this automated measure by drawing on a well-established mathematical description of entropy, i.e. the difference between pixel intensities in the image/frame, as quantified by a dissimilarity measure. In essence, the latter provides information about the texture or pattern variations in an image.

A higher dissimilarity value suggests a greater level of variation or heterogeneity in the image's texture. This indicates the presence of different types of textures or patterns with distinct intensity variations, thereby resulting in an increased Cognitive Demand score.

On the other hand, a lower dissimilarity value implies more similarity or homogeneity in the image's texture. This implies a relatively uniform or smooth texture with less variation in intensity, yielding a decreased Cognitive Demand score.


Clarity_Icon  Clarity score

The Clarity score predicts whether customers will experience your asset clearly or not.

How do I interpret Clarity scores?

A low Clarity score means that customers will experience your design cluttered and hard to understand. Designs with much information, or even noise, typically lead to lower Clarity scores. Here, you should ask whether the many and/or noisy elements are important in conveying the message in your design.

In most instances, Clarity should be high, combined with high attention to your main assets (brand, offer, message, product). Under certain circumstances, a low Clarity is acceptable, as in when your asset is showing an abundance of offers, and there is no single item that should grab attention.

Tip: You can use Clarity Heatmaps to understand which parts of your image are contributing most and least to your overall Clarity score.


Engagement_Icon  Engagement score

The Engagement score is the prediction of how excited and immersed your customers will feel when they are exposed to your asset. A high level of Engagement leads to increased brand memory and purchasing behavior.

How do I interpret Engagement scores?

We often see that Engagement is driven by emotional elements, such as faces showing emotions, as well as objects, large letters, and offers. Generally clear and simple visual information.

Tip: Engagement Heatmaps illustrate which areas in your image have the most and least impact on your overall Engagement score. 

If you have a strong brand, consider making the brand an important part of your design, as this will lead to higher Engagement.

We often see that lower Engagement is driven by factors such as complex visual designs, gloomy colors, and highly technical materials. To increase Engagement, consider simplifying your messaging; less is more!


You will often see that Clarity and Engagement scores are opposites. Elements that drive much Engagement can also demand more from the brain to understand information. e.g., text or information, leading to lower Clarity.

When it comes to analyzing Clarity and Engagement, keep in mind that these are secondary scores. If Cognitive Demand scores are too high and Focus scores are too low, it will be quite challenging to have people spend enough time with your ad to drive real engagement.