A new research project at the London School of Economics has spawned an interesting iPhone app called ‘mappiness which aims to chart personal happiness.
Created by George MacKerron and Susana Mourato of the Department of Geography & Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), the app intends to bring about an understanding of how people’s feelings are affected by features of their current environment—things like air pollution, noise, and green spaces.
They’re hoping volunteers will become part of the project by downloading the free app to their iPhones and then filling in some basic demographic and health-related information about themselves.
From there on in, they can expect a notification (beep) on their iPhones between one and five times a day which will come during random moments (users can specify how many beeps they get a day and what hours they arrive).
The beepee (?!) is then prompted to open the app, briefly report how they’re feeling and describe – in very broad terms – who they’re with, where they are, and what they’re doing, with all sent reports being anonymous.
There’s also the option to take photos if they’re outside somewhere and feeling happy, or to send in ‘unbeeped’ reports if they feel so inclined.
So what happens to the data?
Here’s George and Susana to explain all:
We’ll use it solely for our academic research.
We’ll apply statistical methods to the combined responses from everyone taking part. We’ll use the location data to estimate what the environment was like in the places where people responded. And we’ll be looking at the effect of this on people’s feelings, while controlling for some other potential influences.
If you’re curious to see what we find, please come back to this site from time to time: we’ll be posting results here. We also hope to present our findings in academic journals and at conferences, and to make sure policy-makers are aware of anything important.
In all cases, we’ll never report any individual’s responses—only information at the group level.
Mappiness is available from the App Store. We’d be happier if they had an Android version, but as it is, they can beep off.