Timing rather than user traits mediates mood sampling on smartphones (2017)

BMC Res Notes. 2017 Sep 16;10(1):481. doi: 10.1186/s13104-017-2808-1.

Noë B1, Turner LD2, Linden DEJ3,4, Allen SM2, Maio GR5, Whitaker RM2.



Recent years have seen an increasing number of studies using smartphones to sample participants’ mood states. Moods are usually collected by asking participants for their current mood or for a recollection of their mood states over a specific period of time. The current study investigates the reasons to favour collecting mood through current or daily mood surveys and outlines design recommendations for mood sampling using smartphones based on these findings. These recommendations are also relevant to more general smartphone sampling procedures.


N=64 participants completed a series of surveys at the beginning and end of the study providing information such as gender, personality, or smartphone addiction score. Through a smartphone application, they reported their current mood 3 times and daily mood once per day for 8 weeks. We found that none of the examined intrinsic individual qualities had an effect on matches of current and daily mood reports. However timing played a significant role: the last followed by the first reported current mood of the day were more likely to match the daily mood. Current mood surveys should be preferred for a higher sampling accuracy, while daily mood surveys are more suitable if compliance is more important.

KEYWORDS:  Experience sampling methodology; Mood; Mood sampling; Smartphone; Smartphone study; Study design

PMID: 28915911

PMCID: PMC5602857

DOI: 10.1186/s13104-017-2808-1