Tag Archives: emotions

How To Measure Mood Using Quantified Self Tools

CircumplexHere is a brief roundup of some of the things we’ve either collected or written about tracking mood since we first started paying attention to mood tracking back in 2008.

Get Your Mood On

Alex Carmichael and Robin Barooah have recently completed work on an excellent book detailing their experiences and knowledge gained from years of mood tracking. We’ve already posted the first three chapters of their book and are excited to bring you more in the upcoming weeks.

  1. Why Measure Mood and How It Can Help
  2. How is Mood Measured?
  3. Preparing Your Mental State for Self-Tracking
  4. DIY Mood Tracking
  5. Mood Sharing and Experimentation
  6. Exploring the Future of Mood Tracking

Mood Tracking  Show & Tell Talks

Mood tracking is also a popular presentation topic at our worldwide Meetup groups. Here are a few of the talks from the last year that discuss personal mood tracking projects.

  • Remko Siemerink on Mood and Music: Remko Siemerink tells his personal story of health insights through accidental lifelogging. He has bipolar disorder, and has been using last.fm over the past 7 years to track his music listening and compare it with his friends’ music patterns.
  • Marie Dupuch on Mood Tracking With Colors: Marie created a rating scale based on colors as a visual metric, and a self-reported quantifiable metric, to gauge her mood over periods of time. This led her to have more awareness and provided the information she needed to make confident choices in her own life.
  • Erik Kennedy on Tracking Happiness: Erik was interested in what makes him happy so he started tracking it. After categorizing hundreds of events he shares what makes him happy, what doesn’t, and some very thoughtful takeaways.

Mood Measuring Tools

Here’s a list of some of the mood measuring tools we’ve covered in the past and used in our personal lives. This list is by no means complete so if you use a mood tracker we don’t mention be sure to add it in the comments!

  • Moodscope: A simple online tracker and support system. Make sure to watch founder Jon Cousin’s show & tell talk about how and why he created Moodscope.
  • Moodpanda: Track your mood online or with mobile apps (iOS and Android).  Read our Toolmaker Talk with founder Ross Larter here.
  • Expereal: A  new visual mood rating and journal application. Read our Toolmaker Talk with founder Jonathan Cohen here.
  • MoodJam: An online tool to track your mood using colors and keywords. Watch founder Ian Li talk about the latest version of MoodJam at a QS Pittsburgh Meetup.

The Science of Mood Measurement

For deeper background on the scholarly work and controversy about how mood is measured here’s a long post by QS Founder Gary Wolf: Measuring Mood: Current Research and New Ideas.

What do you do to track mood? What have you learned?

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Quantifying Emotions and Body Sensations

Georgios Papastefanou gave us an overview of the emotions and sensations that can be measured through a device. Tiredness is measured as a decrease in sympathetic nervous system activation. Fear also has very distinct physical markers.

Happiness is more difficult to quantify. There’s also a difference between the self-reported emotions of young men vs what their physiological data indicates. There’s a greater correlation between the self-report and data in women.

Just using the tracking devices has changed behavior for Georgios himself. His suggestion is to give a mobile measurement device to someone who is dealing with obesity and ask them to mark their feelings of hunger. If someone is more aware of how hungry they are feeling, they get  a good feedback loop of when they are eating due to hunger pangs vs. other reasons they have for eating.

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