Measuring Mood


I found this article on The Quantified Self blog going over the current state of how scientists and self surveillance specialists are measuring the frequency and extent of people’s emotions throughout their daily lives.

Buried deep within the article, Wolf references a paper that Lisa Barrett wrote called Solving the Emotion Paradox: Categorization and the Experience of Emotion. Wolf says that “her paper suggests that we can improve our emotional structure, increasing the granularity of emotional experiences by enriching our vocabulary and learning to apply it to previously unnoticed patterns in affect and context. (I am assuming for the moment that a more complex structure of emotion is a good thing. This could be questioned. But the first step in any case is mapping our emotional architecture.)”

Mapping your emotional architecture is a great metaphor. It is about coming to a better understanding of your emotional state. This will lead to mapping emotions to types of thoughts. Which will ultimately lead to understanding when your rational thought is unintentionally being influenced by your emotions. Again, the point is not to completely remove all emotions from your life. The point is to recognize when your emotions are affecting your thoughts.

How often are you angry or depressed? When you are in that state, do you think differently? Do you make different assumptions? Does your mood change when you are at work? Do you get grumpy a few hours after lunch? All these questions could lead to a better understanding of your emotional state. With websites like The Quantified Self, it seems like we are beginning to see websites and applications that will help us answer these questions with numbers.

Photo courtesy of takomabibelot 

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