Better Tools, Better Data, Better Science.

The team recently attended the Better-Data conference hosted by Goldsmith College’s Hungry Mind Lab, which showcased several innovative research technologies within the behavioural and psychological sciences. These tools aim to provide new ways of collecting data as well as collecting new types of information that, prior to these technologies, was impossible to harness.

At Silverman Research, we are interested in how we can gather and analyse social collective intelligence, and we believe that there is much potential within these very large datasets for new insights to emerge.

Talks of interest

We particularly enjoyed the sessions by Dr. Moat of Warwick and Dr. Mackerron of the University of Sussex, who spoke about their research in the behavioural sciences, addressing their use of tech in collecting data on happiness and well-being. The creation of well-being apps and the large amounts of free web-based platforms is giving rise to all sorts of new behavioural data and metrics that are extremely interesting to tap into.

Technologies of interest

All the technologies presented were very innovative: most were app- and web-based tools created to assess, measure, monitor, and record data and symptoms (be they physical or emotional). The tools often used a mix of physiological measures, self-report questionnaires, and tests/ games. Their functionality extends to academic research, psychological and medical interventions, or simply as a tool for the layperson to monitor their own health and well-being.

Our Favourites:

Catch it: A mental-health and well-being app that incorporates a mood diary and a step-by-step mood tracker. It illustrates the key principles of psychological interventions such as Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Ethos: A mobile ethnographic research platform. This app gives brands the ability to see how their products fit into their lives via photos and videos from smart phones uploaded by users.

PsyMate: A purpose-made device which aims to monitor daily life experiences and behaviour and to apply momentary assessment technology to mental health practice. It uses the Experience Sampling Method (ESM) to gather data in real-time, and tracks changes in mood and experience.

PSYT: A company specialising in creating bespoke apps for academic research and for businesses to collect real-time wellness data using ESM (Experience Sampling Method). They aim to gather data and insights into the culture of organisations and their employees’ well-being, and improve mental health with their app-based mindfulness tools.

TESTABLE: A web platform created to assist aspiring researchers with the research process. It facilitates the creation, running, and sharing of behavioural experiments and methodologies, in order to create templates to streamline research.

TrackSys: A system for recording, reviewing and analysing behaviour. This tool defines, codes, displays, and analyses behaviour and can be used in research, teaching, and training.

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