When an article looks promising but I don’t have the time, attention, focus, or patience to read it, I generally stick it in my to read pile on Delicious.com. I filed away what turned out (just today) to be a real gem in April of this year – from Gary Wolf on the blog Quantified Self and titled Measuring Mood – Current Research And New Ideas. It provides a thumbnail sketch of the recent scholarly history of the theory of emotions, and points to a few approaches that show promise including happy factor. Mood tracking and the ability to measure and share data about levels of individual happiness is a topic that seems to pop up in brainstorms all the time, and is often falsely assumed to be as an easy and straightforward thing to implement.
Read, don’t skim Gary’s article if you’re interested in finding out more about the tension between two prevailing approaches at modeling emotion — one that makes happiness and sadness polar opposites, and one that allows them to coexist at the same time — and how Lisa Feldman Barrett’s approach helped to lead the discussion in a productive direction.