On Monday, the London School of Economics launched a project designed to "map happiness" in the U.K. Indeed, we are not kidding. The iPhone application called "mappiness
" will be used to help researchers map "happiness across space in the U.K."
After installing and setting up the free app, users will receive a notification on their iPhone automatically, between one and five times a day (as set by the user). The timing will be random, and during hours set by the user. Additionally, the user can manually enter happiness data, as well.
The app will ask users to report their feelings at the time, and (broadly, they say), who they're with, location, and current activity. If the user is outdoors and is willing, they can submit a photo as well. Each "session" will take about 30 seconds, the researchers said.
In return for their participation, users get access to personalized mood charts detailing their responses. Here's how the research is described, on the mappiness site.
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.
No individualized data will appear on the site, only general aggregate data. Non-U.K. users are welcome to join, but the data may not be used.
It would be interesting to see this study extended across Android users. Then Android and iPhone fanboys, respectively, could see which of the two groups is happier.