Prediction of Self-Perceived Stress and Arousal Based on Electrodermal Activity – a paper by Tomppa Pakarinen, Julia Pietilä and Hannu Nieminen has been presented at the European Biomedical Conference EMBC in Berlin in July.
The researchers were keen to understand how individuals perceive stress and how devices can capture it. The need for this kind of study has been there for a long time. Today, prolonged stress is a common cause of work-related health problems and has major negative impact on employee wellbeing and productiveness. Being able to measure exposure to stress long term would provide a valuable tool for improving workplace and personal wellbeing and potentially reduce health-related problems.
In contrast to some earlier studies, the researchers in this study attempted to simulate actual work-related stress rather than induce extreme reactions.
Electrodermal activity (EDA) in evaluation of mental state
Questionnaires are commonly used to measure the individual’s subjective perception of stress. Physiological measurements are used for assessing the physiological responses related to stress and arousal. The most common measures are heart rate variability (HRV), electrodermal activity (EDA), heart rate, electroencephalography, respiration, and skin temperature. In previous research, HRV has been the most commonly used method.
Electrodermal activity (EDA) reflects the functions of the autonomic nervous system and was chosen to be applied in this study. It is often used for the evaluation of different mental states such as short and long-term stress. In the study, test subjects were exposed to a 3-phase test (relaxation, arousal, stress) during which EDA was recorded, and the self-perceived stress and arousal were assessed.
The results are promising for the use of EDA as a long-term measurement of work-related stress
In this study, the research team was able to reliably classify relaxation, arousal and stress-inducing phases of simulated work with high accuracy (94.1% with BIOPAC, 82.8% with Moodmetric smart ring), using a number of EDA features.
When comparing EDA to subjective questionnaires, the self-perceived stress and arousal were classified with much lower accuracy of 60.5–72.2%. Based on the results, it is possible that individuals are less able to recognize and interpret the level of stress they are experiencing in a particular situation than the measuring devices reading their EDA.
Overall the results are promising for the use of EDA as a long-term measurement of stress at work.
For Moodmetric the research is an important, continued validation of accuracy. The easy-to-use Moodmetric smart ring can provide information on the stressfulness of work-related situations almost as accurately as respective laboratory equipment designed to measure EDA.
Access to the paper will be available later at the EMBC site
There are reports in media daily about work and study-related stress, burnouts and the increase of mental load, especially among knowledge workers. The focus is on what to do when stress has already become chronic. The act of balancing between mental load and recovery is yet to become an everyday task.
There are tools for companies and occupational health to gather objective, real-time data about an individual’s cognitive and emotional stress. They comprise an efficient method for preventing the build-up of stress when applied before the load gets too high.
The tool matters
When the aim is to pay attention to mental load, the Moodmetric measurement provides just the needed data. The Moodmetric smart ring, worn as a normal ring, is a measuring device that gathers accurate information about cognitive and emotional stress, around the clock. The smartphone app shows real-time data. Measuring in real time motivates to pay attention to one’s choices affecting mental well-being every day.
Why is it important that the measuring happens in real time?
We all need feedback. The most effective is instant feedback that makes us see the cause and effect, better realizing the connection between what we did and what was the outcome.
Real-time measurement also catches our attention and encourages us to try out things that might affect the result. For example, how fast does my stress level go down if I breathe deeply for 5 minutes in front of an open window?
Let’s say a meeting lasts from 2pm to 3pm. The topic is inspiring, the participants throw in new ideas, decisions are made. A person wearing the Moodmetric ring follows her stress levels during the meeting and sees them fluctuating between 45 and a full 100. Alternatively she gives a glance at the app after the meeting. The numbers show that the stress levels were high. And because the feeling was positive, she concludes that this was a meeting inducing positive stress. She knows that recovery is important also from excitement and takes a moment to relax in a quiet space before the next meeting. The sympathetic nervous system calms down, both the body and mind get a moment of rest.
A long enough period of uninterrupted measuring, roughly two weeks, provides reliable data of the amount of mental load the person is experiencing. It contains a good number of different kinds of days, where one exceptional day does not significantly affect the big picture.
The Moodmetric measurement tells about the amount of mental load
The right metric helps to increase self-understanding and tells where the personal boundaries for high and low stress reside. Objective data, namely a clear number is a decision-making tool and a call for action: “After a day at the office, is it better for me to go jogging, or just for a walk along the scenic route?”
Measuring devices can be used continuously or periodically until the person feels that their control over the issues causing mental load has improved.
The Moodmetric measurement
The Moodmetric smart ring gives real-time information on what increases and what decreases mental load during day and night. It supports the wearer in finding the optimal balance between emotional and cognitive stress versus recovery.
A two-week Moodmetric measurement period is sufficient to provide the user with an understanding of their stress levels. If the levels are normal, the measurement can be repeated in, say, a year. If the levels are very high, it is advised to discuss with a healthcare professional about the data and make your own assessment of the load and its causes, both at and off work.
As a young team leader, it was difficult for me to understand family life. Having no kids, I could spend a lot of my time and energy on work, since my evenings were free of responsibilities. Having no personal experience, I had no idea of the chaos and amount of work awaiting a parent, especially mothers, on return to home after a day at the office.
Also, luckily enough, not everyone has experienced firsthand the mental mental burden of having to go through a divorce or a family member falling seriously ill. Big life changes always affect your work too and can take away, for a long time, the joy and satisfaction you experience in your work.
Someone in a leading position can, of course, have a family and big challenges in life too; we all know life can be really hard sometimes. This does not mean, however, that all managers understand why burnouts happen. We’re all individuals, we do not react to the same issues in the same way. To enforce the argument, I’m sure everyone can think of someone they know who seemingly navigates through life without appearing to experience significant amount of stress.
What are the consequences of having a boss who never seems to be stressed out?
It can lead to behaviour such as mine as a young leader without kids, not being empathic enough to understand how strongly and wholly stress affects both free time and work.
Whether or not a manager experiences stress themselves, s/he has the duty to actively observe employees to see if the burden is getting too big. If signs appear, the first step is have a discussion with the employee in question.
“Employers shall continuously monitor the working environment, the state of the working community and the safety of the work practices. Employers shall also monitor the impact of the measures put into practice on safety and health at work.”
But how do you define and measure the issues employees find stressful? Moreover, which of these can be argued to be issues the employer can control?
The employer has control over many things that can cause stress, such as company culture, salary policy or physical environment
The most important issues in this respect are equality, integrity and the sense of fairness. Equality needs to be understood broadly, consisting of gender and salary equality, equal opportunities for career advancement and raises, and fair division of tasks and responsibilities.
It is also the duty of the employer to ensure that there is a fair balance between a job description, the skills and competences of an employee, and the objectives of the employer.
Without a doubt, providing a safe and suitable physical environment for the job required is the responsibility of the employer. There are many issues to consider, but let me raise one: In the open office plans of today, is enough consideration taken to secure an environment devoid of disruption and noise for work requiring concentration?
Company culture, ways of working and organizational structure are defined and controlled by the employer, having a big impact on the well-being of an employee.
It is also the employer’s responsibility to continuously monitor the work atmosphere among the employees.
Not all factors related to well-being can be expressed as clearly set rules: The boss just needs to stay alert. Minea Ahlroth, who has studied harassment and discrimination at work, writes:
“A manager has the duty to mingle with the employees, taking the pulse of the organization and making note of the different emerging signals.” (Ahlroth et. al. 2015, 90)
What if the employer does things by the book? All structures, salary policy, positions and ways of working are fair. The atmosphere is good, for the most part the staff seems to like both their work and the workplace. The employer can not detect shortcomings.
Being responsible for your own well-being is not a choice, it is a must
An employer has a huge responsibility for their staff. They are required to create a workplace that promotes equality and enables employees to achieve a successful work-life balance. A forward-looking employer supports an individual in many other ways too.
In turn, the employees need to tell when things are not going well.
Everyone able to take part in working life has the responsibility to take care of themselves and their own well-being.
Why? Because an employer cannot know everything that is going on in one’s life. No matter how good the employer, they cannot optimize the work conditions for everyone, let alone their life outside of work. Everyone’s life has shorter or longer periods when one’s mental load is bigger than the opportunities for recovery.
How do we tackle stress at Moodmetric
At Moodmetric the mental well-being is the responsibility of both the employer and employee. But what are the concrete actions?
Naturally the method of measuring stress levels is something available for everyone. This is not obligatory, but it can be done all the time or when the person so desires. Some of us have been wearing the Moodmetric ring continuously for over 4 years now.
The greatest value from the Moodmetric measurement can be derived when the mental load is high. When the stress levels creep up, the person is like a crab in a kettle set to boil – a person does not recognize the heat build up over time.
What can the employee do?
When the Moodmetric levels get higher than recommended, the first thing an employer would need to do is to take action to lower the levels. What are these actions?
We are all individuals, which means that we need to find our own individual ways to lower our stress levels. This is where the Moodmetric real-time measurement proves to be a helpful tool: An individual learns the things which raise and lower their stress levels. Employing some commonly known ways to alleviate stress, such as getting more sleep and enjoying open air activities and nature is a good way to start one’s journey of self-discovery.
And what is the role of the employer?
What are the responsibilities of an employer to support an individual’s search for balance? The best results can be achieved by the employer supporting the individual in the measures s/he has chosen. If there is a need for some days off or shorter workdays or weeks, there should be a way to try and find an optimum solution for all. Personalized options are the key: Even longer breaks during workdays can have a significant effect on productivity.
The goal is common
The employer and employee should work together to prevent chronic stress and often long absences due to burnout. A single burnout is a grave symptom and requires immediate actions in the workplace. The reputation of a company can be severely impacted by its employees going public about their stress and lack of well-being.
Both employees and companies have the common goal of preserving health, attaining a positive mindset and longevity of life. Employees with a healthy work-life balance help companies and organizations to prosper. A happy and healthy employee spreads positive attitude around him or her. In the end, it is, for example, our families who emerge as the ultimate beneficiaries if our well-being at work is taken care of.
The detrimental effects of chronic stress are gaining increasing attention. In addition to human suffering, stress has economic impact and long-term consequences on society and people in general.
Moodmetric is a company which helps individuals to understand how their bodies react to different cognitive and emotional stimuli. The Moodmetric measurement enables early recognition and prevention of chronic stress.
The Moodmetric smart ring is a device for measuring with ease and accuracy electrodermal activity (EDA), as the following clinical research confirms.
Research at Tampere University: Moodmetric technology shows great promise in identifying stress levels in a work environment
The Personal Health Informatics research group at Tampere University, Finland, has studied the effects of cognitive stress on the body in a simulated research environment.
In the research setting individuals were exposed to three different levels of emotional and cognitive stress: calm, active, and intense. The impact of the different simulated situations on the individuals was analysed by measuring electrodermal activity (EDA) and a questionnaire. The purpose of the research was to find out how accurate the Moodmetric smart ring is at measuring EDA in comparison to the traditional laboratory methods. In addition, the aim was also to study how well the self-assessments of the individuals correlated with the test results. Machine learning was used to analyse the test results.
The preliminary results are encouraging: ‘The initial conclusions appear to support the hypothesis that the Moodmetric smart ring can provide information on the stressfulness of work-related situations almost as accurately as respective laboratory equipment designed to measure EDA’, says Hannu Nieminen, D.Sc. and head of the research.
Overall the research has brought about some very interesting information, including the observation that individuals are less able to recognize and interpret the level of stress they are experiencing in a particular situation than the measuring devices reading their EDA.
Research at University of Jyväskylä: The Moodmetric index correlates with the stress hormone cortisol
There is another research ongoing in Finland by Jyväskylä University, in collaboration with a private health clinic called Pihlajanlinna, which appears to confirm the accurateness of the Moodmetric index in clinical research.
A cognitive stress test, Trier Mental Challenge, was used to measure the ability of the participants to do arithmetic calculations, which grew more difficult over a period of ten minutes. The participants’ cortisol levels were measured from saliva before and after taking the cognitive test, and the Moodmetric smart ring was worn throughout the test. On average, the MM level variated between 61±15 and the changes in cortisol were 12±71%. The relative change in cortisol levels correlated positively with the MM level (r=.71, p=0.005, see picture). The more the level of cortisol rose during the test, the higher the MM levels were.
The full research results by the team from the Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Jyväskylä will become available later in the year.
Find our more about what a stress reaction means. How does is affect our bodies, how can it be measured and what is the connection with the cortisol level?
The sympathetic nervous system triggers the fight-or-flight response before we consciously make any decision on how to act. Many things happen very fast. First the hormone epinephrine (also known as adrenaline) and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline) are released into our system. We notice the effects: Rapid pulse and respiration increase oxygen intake for fast action. Blood pressure goes up and extra oxygen is sent to the brain, increasing alertness. Sight, hearing, and other senses become sharper.
Blood sugar (glucose) and fats from energy stores are released into the bloodstream to give us the extra power we need. Skin temperature goes up and the increased sweat on the palms of our hands improves our grip– should we need to climb a tree to flee.
All these reactions are caused by some very fast chemical processes in our body. Our preparedness for the fight is automatic and we flee away from threat without conscious cognitive processing.
What happens next? If a fight is unavoidable, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA axis or HTPA axis) is activated after the first surge of adrenaline subsides. The HPA axis keeps the sympathetic nervous system up and running as long as needed, until the fight is over.
This adrenal cortex produces hormones that contribute to the release of cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that has several functions, including the controlling of the blood sugar level during stress reaction. The hormonal effects induced by the adrenal cortex are called indirect stress responses as they work through the bloodstream. The effects of these responses take place within 20-30 seconds.
The Moodmetric smart ring is a prime example of Finnish innovation in the area of health technology. Vigofere Oy was set up as a company five years ago to commercialize the invention of Henry Rimminen, D.Sc., who had developed a smart ring which measures electrodermal activity (EDA). The ability to measure, outside of test laboratory conditions, the electricity that your body emits was revolutionary and 2013 saw the birth of the first prototype for further development.
How It All Begun
As a researcher at Aalto University, Henry Rimminen had worked on various sensors and methods for measuring physiological activity. Fitness trackers were a growing trend and devices based on measuring heart rate had been available for consumers for some time already.
Measuring electrodermal activity had been in research use for over a hundred years, but there were no practical applications of the measurement method on the market for consumers. It was this challenge that Henry Rimminen aimed to solve.
Our bodies react to external stimuli, both psychological and physical. This triggers off the sympathetic nervous system, the activity of which can be measured by how the eccrine (very tiny) sweat glands respond. These glands are dense on the palm of our hands, making them the optimum location to place the measuring sensor on.
EDA, or skin conductance, is a phenomenon which was discovered by two researchers, Charles Vigoroux and Richard Féré in the late 19th century. The name of the company, Vigofere Oy, was derived from the names of these two trailblazers.
In laboratory conditions EDA is measured by placing electrodes on the skin, usually on the tip of two fingers. For an accurate reading, no movement is allowed.
To develop a consumer product, Henry Rimminen had to overcome several challenges:
• Downsizing the measuring device from the size of a block of cheese to as small as possible.
• Instead of restricting the use of two fingers, the device had to be effortless to wear in everyday life.
• The results should not be affected by physical movement.
• Data transfer should be wireless.
In the autumn of 2015 the first commercial version of the Moodmetric smart ring was launched. It was the result of many iterative rounds of research and development. Once the electronics and measuring capability were deemed robust enough, designer Vesa Nilsson provided the ring its Scandinavian look and feel. Vesa Nilsson is famous for transformational and clean design. For further information, see Oz Jewel.
One of the key principles Henry Rimminen followed right from the start was ease of use: It was imperative that the data the ring collects could be effortlessly retrieved, read and managed. Developing an application running on a smart phone was the next logical step.
The mobile application had to incorporate two basic elements:
• The index with the numeric values 1-100 is calculated from the raw data and show the alertness level of the person wearing the ring. High numeric figures signify stress or excitement, low figures a sense of calm.
• A round diagram demonstrates the fluctuation of the stress levels during 12-hour intervals. The use of colour make it easy to visualize, in one glance, the different levels of alertness, sliding from red for high levels on the outer peripheral of the diagram to the light greens of low stress levels on the inner circle of the diagram. For further information on the Moodmetric index and data interpretation, see here.
Vigofere Oy/Moodmetric today
Vigofere Oy has been in business for over five years and has a fully Finnish ownership. R&D is all done in Finland, as is the assembly and packing of the product too.
Moodmetric serves consumers, researchers, companies and health professionals globally.
The Moodmetric smart ring can be purchased from the Moodmetric webshop and the mobile application can be downloaded for free from the App Store and Google Play.
For companies and health professionals Moodmetric provides a measuring service for preventive stress management. Research institutes have been the first to utilize the technology and the ring in their work. For further information see our research page.
Stress is a positive thing, when it is well balanced. Our mission at Moodmetric is to help each and everyone to find their individual and optimum way to manage stress in all situations. Our goal is to significantly reduce the negative effects of chronic stress on individual, organizational and societal levels.
We at Moodmetric believe that the world can be saved from a state of chronic stress with Finnish health technology.
The starting level and objectives in stress management are as important as when maintaining physical condition. An employer wishes that every employee is with good health and well-being for the duration of their career. Most companies systematically take actions to promote this. When looking at stress management from an individual point of view, there are as many situations as people.
From a physical point of view someone might have as an objective to spend less time on a couch. Another wants to run a marathon or win a competition in weight lifting. Regarding the mental well-being, too many just would like to manage it until tomorrow.
“5 simple ways to live a less stressful life” or “7 tips to managing daily stress” are interesting titles and lead thoughts to how things are in ones´ life. Often these tips do not take into account the big picture nor is the experienced stress positive or negative.
The Moodmetric smart ring is the only wearable that shows the cognitive and emotional stress real time, and enables measuring also in long term.
The Moodmetric measurement data from several years has brought better understanding on stress
Analyzing the Moodmetric data over the course of four years has helped us to better understand the fluctuating stress levels. The measurement periods are are from 2 weeks to years, which enables seeing how changes in life affect the stress levels. It has become clear, that a person’s starting point plays an important role in stress management.
1. People stress differently
Based on the Moodmetric measurement people can be roughly divided to two categories
Reaching high stress levels often and easily, both out of excitement and of negative stress. This means reacting often very strongly to emotional and cognitive stimuli.
Those who react more flatly, have less deviation from average values. Also these people can reach high Moodmetric-levels very fast, but they normally soon return back to equilibrium.
In the first group people might need to pay more attention to recovery every day. Sleep can be very deep when balance has been gained.
In the second group the recovery during the night might not need to be as complete. This is because the load of the sympathetic nervous system is more modest during the day.
It is good to understand my own way to react to stress. There are as many ways as there are persons, and this can also change with different phases of life.
No way to react is better than the other. During evolution all types were needed – this has not changed. People acting differently are needed in social and occupational context. Diversity is good also regarding stress responses.
2. You need to recover also from excitement
Also positive stress can wear out when going on for a long time. People devoted to their work, entrepreneurs, creative people and many others sometimes enjoy positive stress for too long. A dream job can also lead to burnout.a.
Devices and tests might tell a lot, but the most important is own experience. What is the situation in my life – the work, family, leisure, friends? Do I feel things are pretty good, or is some area of my life very demanding right now? If I say I am stressed, what does it feel like and how does it affect my life?
The Moodmetric smart ring is a support for individual stress management. It gives valuable measurement data and helps in better self understanding.
The measurement data always needs to be put in the context of own life. Same numbers can in different situations mean a different thing. Very low Moodmetric levels have been measured both with depressed and those who are simply always calm.
3. Good start to managing stress is to understand oneself and one’s life
What stresses me out, how do I calm down, what is my individual way to react? A short practice: Can you easily place yourself to the below fourfold table of wellbeing? No that your position might vary depending on whether you think of work, family or other part of life.
The wellbeing fourfold is for determining how high is the stress/arousal level, and is the state positive or negative. The Moodmetric measurement shows the stress level on a scale of 1 to 100. The app Analytics screen shows the chosen categories of life on a similar fourfold, when the user has defined the mood as pleasant/unpleasant. (Use the Diary feature for this.)
When defining where I am on the map, it is good to understand what was discussed in point 1: how do I react to stress. Some people mainly move in lower part of the picture, high levels of stress or excitement are not natural. Whether stress level is low or high, the right side of the fourfold is better in long term.
the Moodmetric measurement helps to manage stress better
The Moodmetric measurement helps to put oneself to the correct spot on the picture of own life and stress. What stresses me out, what not, what are my stress levels comparing the objective – ie. balance?
– What Moodmetric levels one should aim at?
No single measurement result is good or bad. In long term the objective is balance. This means that sleep and rest during the day compensate the activation of the sympathetic nervous system due to emotional or cognitive load. When the Moodmetric daily average number is about 50, it indicates balance of the autonomic nervous system.
Good start to managing stress is to acknowledge own situation as accurately as possible. Measured cognitive and emotional load is often both a support and a motivating factor.
Stress is a good thing, it is a driving force keeping us active and productive. However, excessive strain can lead to overload, especially when the issues causing stress are beyond our control. Chronic stress is a state where stress outweighs recovery. The autonomic nervous system is off balance and the body is continuously in a state of alarm.
There is a clear link between chronic stress and several physical and psychological illnesses. Stress is often the underlying reason for burnout. Overload is difficult to recognize because it builds up over a long period of time. Stress, the feeling of not being able to cope, can still be a taboo, resulting in people seeking help too late. According to research, even 60-80% of visits to the doctor have a connection with stress (Nerurkar et al. 2013). Every fourth employee suffers from work-related stress at some point of their working life.
In this fifth part of our article series we discuss the Moodmetric measurement benefits at preventive occupational health care.
Electrodermal activity and stress
The Moodmetric smart ring is one of the first devices on the market to measure easily and reliably long-term stress by interpreting the phenomenon of electrodermal activity. This physiological measurement can accurately tell about the fluctuating stress levels of an individual in everyday life. Electrodermal activity is especially sensitive to changes in emotional and cognitive stress and being able to measure it accurately in a particular context tells us what causes stress and why. This makes the Moodmetric smart ring a great tool for managing stress, especially for knowledge workers.
The Moodmetric smart ring is easy to use and the measurement results can be observed in real time on a mobile app. For a good overview, it is recommended that the ring is worn for at least a period of two weeks, but using the ring and its data can be well incorporated into everyday life, for as long as it is needed. In two weeks, however, the user learns about their individual sources of stress and recovery, and gains motivation to seek a better balance between the two.
The Moodmetric measurement is real-time, informative and accurate, with the ring being easy and comfortable to use. The data is represented in visual form on a mobile app and the real-time view enables immediate actions. This is very important when aiming for behavioral changes. Corrective actions can be applied into practice right away.
According to customer feedback, the data accumulated by the Moodmetric smart ring helps to better recognize individual sources of stress and recovery and motivates one to take concrete actions.
Moodmetric provides new services for preventive occupational health care
The Moodmetric reseach and development has been strongly guided by our customer feedback. Customer comments and use cases have been collected since 2015. Especially our corporate customers have repeatedly expressed their wish to have the Moodmetric services available at occupational health care. Individuals often look forward to receiving professional help in interpreting the data, along with gaining a better understanding of good practices in managing their stress.
Occupational health care has a limited selection of tools to offer customers seeking help in managing their stress overload, or whose health issues are clearly stress related. Most customers at occupational health care might just need a guiding hand and not long-term consultancy, but they would still like to have aids such as Moodmetric at their disposal if needed. It is in the interest of insurance companies too to see a more varied selection of preventive healthcare solutions being introduced and available for patients.
Well-being technology can motivate individuals to take an active role in enhancing their own health. The Moodmetric mission is to prevent health issues and related costs caused by stress, all the way from individuals to businesses and communities alike.
The Moodmetric stress measurement data is real-time and tells of the fluctuating stress levels also in long term.
This series of articles is about stress and the ways to measure it. Parts 1 and 2 describe the fight or flight reaction and how the body reacts to chronic stress. Methods for long-term monitoring are presented in part 3. In this article we explain the Moodmetric measurement and how to interpret the data.
The Moodmetric smart ring measures electrodermal activity. It detects skin conductance with the band of the ring that works as a set of electrodes. The band consists of two silver coated steel rings and an insulator band in between them.
To achieve a good and steady reading, the electrodes need be in contact with an area of the skin where the eccrine sweat gland density is high. This density can vary from 400/cm2 on the palm of the hand to about 80/cm2 on the upper arm. The ring form was chosen to achieve the best possible accuracy generated by the Moodmetric sensor. The actual point of measurement is on the inside of the finger and at best the signal is unbroken.
The ring measures continuously and stores the data inside the ‘stone’. The mobile app does not need to be turned on or open, nor the phone near the ring. When the app is activated and the calendar icon chosen, the ring sends the data to the app via a bluetooth connection. The measuring and data storing to the ring continue immediately. The real-time signal – in other words, the ongoing measuring in process – can be observed at any time on the app.
The Moodmetric signal is the violet curve on the mobile app that can be observed in real time. It is the raw measurement signal, autoscaled in order to have the whole amplitude visible even during strong reactions.
The curve enables the analysis of single reactions. Even a thought – excitement, idea, awe – can cause a peak and is registered with only a 1-2 second physiological delay.
Interpreting the raw signal requires expertise in the measurement method and understanding of the possible sources of error.
The Moodmetric stress measurement data
The raw signal for electrodermal activity (EDA) is difficult to interpret. Strong reactions can easily be spotted on the curve, but mathematical methods are needed to gain further insight.
The Moodmetric level has been developed to provide accurate EDA measurement data that is easy to interpret. The algorithms count an index from 1 to 100 so that 1 is the lowest the person can reach. This is possible, for example, in deep sleep. 100 is the maximum level of arousal, strongest possible reaction. Since we are all individuals, the Moodmetric measurement method is designed to find the minimum and maximum levels of each person within the first 12 hours of taking the ring into use. This is called the calibration period. The ring should be recalibrated when handing it over to another user.
The MM level on the app, both the numeric value and the curve being drawn, show the person’s ongoing activity and level of excitement for the past few minutes. The MM level does not indicate single reactions, but changes fast if the arousal level of the person increases or decreases rapidly. Increasing is first visible in the growing amplitude and the raising trend of the Moodmetric curve, then in the higher numeric value for the MM level.
It is easy to get to 100. The challenge lies in working out the ways in which to get the MM level as low as possible.
When calculating the MM level, the algorithms minimize the effect of finger movement and skin moisture. The MM level is comparable between users. If two persons are placed in the same environment and situation, it is possible to observe which one is calmer.
There is no momentary optimal value
It is normal for the Moodmetric level to fluctuate between 1 and 100 during the day. No momentary value is good or bad.
It is equally important to acknowledge that the Moodmetric measurement does not tell whether a reaction is positive or negative. The Moodmetric ring is not a detector of emotions as such.
The fluctuation of stress levels is different for everyone
There are people who react fast and strong, while others respond more calmly. For instance, creative people are often very susceptible to stimuli, which can translate into high and fluctuating MM levels. In contrast, a person doing work that requires much concentration over long periods of time might have low MM levels throughout the working day.
The levels can be high due to excitement and energy, or low due to intense concentration. All this is positive. The levels might also be high due to pressure and lack of control at work. Low figures in turn can tell of boredom or even depression. For an accurate assessment, the measurement data always needs to be complemented with the ring wearer´s own perception of the situation. Only the person in question knows whether a set 100 tells about excitement or irritation.
A successful team is heterogeneous also by the way they react
On average, it is productive at work to have people of different temperaments. Depending on the work, of course, a team consisting only of individuals with either a very mild or a very strong natural way of reacting is probably not as productive as a more heterogeneous team.
The Moodmetric stress measurement data increases our understanding of the different ways in which people react to various situations. This is important from the point of view of health and well-being; to challenge and grow, we should look within and learn from our experiences rather than compare ourselves to others.
The 24-hour MM average level is what it’s all about
The Moodmetric smart ring measures the reactions of the sympathetic nervous system on a scale of 1 to 100. When the 24-hour average value is around 50, there is enough recovery in correlation to the load.
Fluctuation of the MM levels during the day can vary much between different individuals. High daily figures are no cause for worry if the person feels energetic enough and has a restful night: It is the 24-hour MM average level that counts. The same goes for someone whose MM levels don’t peak during the day.
The point is demonstrated in the graphs below: Two persons have exactly the same 24-hour MM average level of 46, which signifies a good balance between rest and activity, but their autonomous nervous systems are activated in different ways and by different stimuli during night and day.
The more you use the ring, the more information you gather to help you adjust your behavior. It is therefore recommended that the ring is worn also during nighttime.
Feedback from users of the Moodmetric ring indicate that the MM level correlates with a user’s own perception of their situation. If the 24-hour average is around 50, the energy levels are normal. Values over 50 for long periods of time go hand in hand with the feeling of being overloaded; cracks in one’s well-being begin to show. Very low daily figures, on the other hand, might be a sign of depression.
The Moodmetric measurement helps the user to gain balance between load and recovery. The sources of stress and ways to recover differ from person to person. For this reason, the measurement data should never be examined in isolation, but further self-assessment by the individual is required. The Moodmetric ring and app are tools for a person seeking more balance in their life.
The complete set of 5 articles explains the Moodmetric measurement, science behind and the applications: