Experience Sampling Methods – Oh the possibilities?

Psychology has a hard time being a social science. People from within and outside the field express skepticism about the types of measures psychologists sometimes use to make hefty inferences. For some, these measures often seem too removed from people’s real lives.

Experience Sampling is a method that tries to get at the dynamic changes people go through on a daily basis. In ‘the olden days’ this method asked participants to keep a diary that researchers would read and then code for significant events and emotional reactivity. But modern technology lets us get even closer. Using smartphones, a number of groups – including our own (see Eeske van Roekel and Hannah Untiedt-Lennarz) – now run studies where participants are continuously asked to provide very basic and specific information about their mood and recent emotionally-impactful events throughout the course of their day.

Needless to say, the promise for this line of research is great.

What questions would you want answered by this method?

*This post was inspired by a recent BBC Article describing a free Android App that you can use to provide your own Experience Sampling data.

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Adam Lobel

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