Mood Maps

Mood Maps is a design research project that explores the recording, mapping and sharing of people’s emotional states over a period of time. The idea was to devise a methodology for collecting and representing quantified subjective emotional data in an elegant and meaningful way.

The system consists of a way of comparing a persons’ perceived overall mood (and its related triggers) to a more complex breakdown of emotional variables. Participants were asked to record on a scale of 1 to 6 whether they were feeling mentally anxious or calm, intellectually disinterested or engaged, physically drained or energetic, appearance-wise unattractive or attractive, and socially isolated or connected. Contextual data such as location, age, sex, and time of logging were also recorded.

The idea is that a person’s perceived mood is a sum of various smaller subjectivities that operate on different levels for different people. For example, one person’s emotional state might be tied more directly to how he is feeling physically at that moment, whereas for another, a lack of intellectual stimulation might adversely effect her mood. Mapping such correlations was of interest to us as it increases one’s awareness of their emotional disposition.

Once the data of over 50 respondents was gathered,  we devised a simple star / radar chart as a way to visualize the multivariate composition of the overall perceived mood and it’s makeup. This resulted in what we consider to be a mood map. This map at a glance reveals the five spokes that comprise a person’s current emotional state, their perceived overall mood, their average map over time, triggers and other contextual data.

A person’s Mood Map over time

A person’s Mood Map over time (click for animation)