The project, led by researcher George MacKerron of LSE’s Department of Geography and Envirnoment, is designed to help the team understand the impact of a person’s surrounding environment. The team believes that features such as pollution, noise, weather conditions and green space all play a part a person’s overall happiness.
The app beeps users at random times of the day to find out how ‘happy’, ‘relaxed’ and how ‘awake’ they are feeling – as well as their activity, companionship and location.
The application even tracks a users’ location via GPS in addition to monitoring noise levels using the iPhone’s in-built microphone. The data is sent back to a central data store securely and anonymously.
MacKerron said: ‘Tracking happiness through time alone is an idea with history: in the 19th century economists imagined a “hedonimeter”, a perfect happiness gauge, and psychologists have more recently run small-scale “experience sampling” studies to see how mood varies with activity, time of day, and so on.
‘We hope to find better answers to questions about the impacts of natural beauty, environmental problems – maybe even aspects of climate – on individual and national wellbeing.’
Users will be able to observe real-time national happiness levels on the website, http://www.mappiness.org.uk/, alongside maps and timelines drawn out from the response data.
Mappiness is free to download from Apple’s online App Store.