I’ve seen a couple of apps which record how people feel and then do cute things with the “happiness” data – see the Twitter Mood Map for example, which showed what cities were happy at particular times of the day (the east coast seemed to be the cheeriest).
Academics at the LSE are hoping to do a similiar thing with a new app for iPhone called Mappiness. Except not just out of curiousity – they hope to gather some useful information about environment, comfort and location which can form part of a broader look at what makes people happy.
It’s a free app and they are just asking volunteers to download it, provide them with a little information about themselves and commit to updating their data one or more times a day. If you agree, Mappiness will send you a little push notification asking you to record your feelings.
We beep you once (or more) a day to ask how you’re feeling, and a few basic things to control for: who you’re with, where you are, what you’re doing (if you’re outdoors, you can also take a photo)
The data gets sent back — anonymously and securely — to our data store, along with your approximate location from the iPhone’s GPS, and a noise-level measure
Why it’s interesting – nothing like a bit of self-measurement – you get a graph of your own feelings at various times of the day. And you’re helping the world – sort of. The researchers’ particular interest in doing this research is seeing how environmental factors affect how we feel – who we’re with, whether ambient noise stresses us out, whether browsing the internet relaxes us.
Phones are a great diagnostic tool for this kind of research – it’s much easier to record stuff on a phone that’s always in your pocket than in a log book or computer. Plus your input can be tagged with exact information like time and location.
One limiting feature in this research is always that it only measures data from smartphone users – and in this case only iPhone users, which of course is a skewed proportion of the population..
Mappiness is free on iTunes.