Do you study stress, attention or customer experience?

Attention and focus relieve stress

The Moodmetric measurement gives real time and accurate data on the sympathetic nervous system activation. Use cases below give a snapshot on how the Moodmetric ring can be used to study stress or anything that makes us react. These are just a handful of examples. Electrodermal activity is a signal with great and for most unused potential in field research.

How to study stress with Moodmetric

Positive stress is a good thing.  When it is in control, it takes us forward. Chronic stress reduces productivity, creativity and job satisfaction and it is a risk for physical and psychological health. Emotional and cognitive load can be extremely high especially at knowledge work. It is not easy to catch signals early. Stress might not be detected before it has reached harmful levels.

Questionnaires are subjective and bound to a certain moment. Preventive stress management needs continuous and long term measurement. The Moodmetric ring is intended for weeks and months of use. It is a great tool to research stress at work.

Customer experience

A customer is testing a new shopping center virtually. The center is equipped with innovative implementations, including parking, navigating inside etc. The pilot customers´ opinion have a major significance on the final drawings and the pilot is heavily studied. The Moodmetric measurement shows instantly and in real time the pain points. We find out when the experience is getting from smooth to troublesome. The Moodmetric levels increase in seconds when the customer is perplexed.

Another example: People drive through a car washing lane. How many of them get terrified inside, with not way of getting out in the middle? Could we ease this out somehow?

One can use Moodmetric measurement to study stress levels in any environment, inside or out in the woods. It suits to observing a person in different situations.

Gaming

Mobile and desktop games can be extremely agitating. Chasing, fighting, racing and performing dangerous tasks is enervating. The sympathetic nervous system of the player is active. The body does not understand that the threat is just an illusion created by the game developer.

A game can also be soothing, like puzzles. Focus is needed but vigilance not.

What kind of a game is yours and what is the target audience? What if you could design games that really calm down the sympathetic nervous system? Could there be a game that you could wholeheartedly recommend for kids with concentration difficulties?

Pay attention! – Study focus with Moodmetric

We make better decisions when we pay attention. Our movements are correct and precise, and we make better analysis. We can really pay attention by not letting noises, lights, phone, emails or the smell of lunch distract us. The Moodmetric ring makes it easy to study stress in different work environments.

The Moodmetric index of 1 to 100 tells our arousal level.  When we are focused the level is below ~25. Full focus on the task at hand might show a steady level of around 10.

Many people can find their way to reach focus no matter the surroundings. Some of us need complete silence to work efficiently. Therefore many companies design spaces and areas inside their offices that enhance concentration.

Sports

What kind of training methods provide the best results? The Moodmetric measurement makes it possible to better understand what level of focus the athlete reaches. Interventions such as mental exercises can be tested. The Moodmetric levels indicate the ones with the best results for improving concentration. The measurement also shows when recovery from practice is sufficient.

Are you interested to know more about the Moodmetric measurement?

Read our article series, starting with explaining the fight-or-flight response.
Applications in research and ongoing projects are on our research site.

Or contact us directly:
Niina Venho / CEO
niina. [email protected]

PART 4: Measuring stress with the Moodmetric ring and understanding the data

The Moodmetric real-time curve and the Moodmetric level

The Moodmetric smart ring measures stress  in real time. It is a user-friendly way to capture electrodermal activity (EDA), which tells about the activation of the sympathetic nervous system.

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.

How is the Moodmetric ring measurement done?

The Moodmetric smart ring measures stress as a physiological phenomenon. This is done by interpreting electrodermal activity that tells about the sympathetic nervous system activation.

Increased sympathetic nervous system activation makes sweat glands work harder. This can be seen in greater conductance of the skin.

Conductance measurement requires two electrodes of conductive material. The band of the Moodmetric ring works as a set of electrodes. It consists of two silver coated steel rings and an insulator band in between them. 

How the Moodmetric ring works

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.

Accurate skin conductance measurement can be done from the palm side of hand. A finger ring has an optimal position from the accuracy point of view and the Moodmetric ring is a ring for this reason. The actual point of measurement is on the inside of the finger and at best the signal is completely 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.

Research by the Finnish Institute of Occupational health (2015)  shows that the signal of the Moodmetric ring is comparable to that of a laboratory device. The ring is suitable for field studies too.

The Moodmetric signal is real time

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 Moodmetric ring real time curve

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 Moodmetric real time viewThe 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.

Measuring stress with the Moodmetric ring and understanding the data

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:

  1. Part 1: Fight or flight response
  2. Part 2: Chronic stress – The brain concludes that we are continuously in danger
  3. Part 3: Tools for long term and continuous stress measurement
  4. Part 4: The Moodmetric ring stress measurement and understanding the data
  5. Part 5: The Moodmetric measurement in preventive occupational health 

Electrodermal activity measured by the Moodmetric ring

Electrodermal activity

With any sympathetic nervous system activation, skin reacts and becomes a better conductor of electricity. This can result from emotional, cognitive or other psychological origin. The phenomenon is known as electrodermal activity (EDA) and it is widely adopted in psychological research (1). Other commonly used terms for this phenomenon are skin conductance response and galvanic skin response.

EDA is generated by the activity of the sweat glands.  Moodmetric measures the palmar skin on your finger. The palmar skin is the recommended EDA measurement location, since it has the highest eccrine sweat gland density (2). You can measure EDA elsewhere as well but the reliability is not as high or as easily achieved.

The unconscious actions of the human body are regulated by the autonomic nervous system. It consists of the sympathetic and parasympathetic part. The parasympathetic part controls the body’s rest-and-digest functions and the sympathetic part controls the fight-or-flight reactions. By examining electrodermal activity we can understand the sympathetic nervous system reactions.

The sweat glands are exclusively innervated by the sympathetic nervous system. This makes EDA an ideal measure for sympathetic activation (2). Electrodermal activity correlates to cognitive and emotional arousal, and high responses are caused by e.g. stress, enthusiasm, anxiety, joy, anger (1, 3).

Mobile EDA devices have been used by scientists for some time (2, 4). The Moodmetric ring is an unobtrusive option to follow EDA responses real-time and in long term.

Signal accuracy

The signal accuracy has been proven in a study of 24 people by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health by J. Torniainen et al.. The accuracy against a laboratory grade reference was found to be 83 %. They conclude:

“Clearly the ring sensor can be used to measure a valid EDA signal as indicated by the similarity of both event-related responses and the calculated features. The accuracy of the Moodmetric EDA Ring is adequate for psychological and physiological research when weighted against the advantage of conducting ecologically valid experiments outside laboratory conditions.”

The results were accepted for publication in the 2015 conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2015, August 25-29).

Link to the article

The Moodmetric measurement accuracy has also been studied at the University of Tampere, Finland in 2014. The correlation with the reference equipment Nexus-10-MK II was good. Comparison details in charts below.

With skin conductance level (SCL) we refer here to raw measured skin conductance without any filtering. The figures below show the comparison of the two devices. 

Further reading in an article by Jari Torniainen and Benjamin Cowley, published in August 2016:

A short review and primer on electrodermal activity in human computer interaction applications

References

1 Mendes, W.B. (2009). Assessing the autonomic nervous system. In: Harmon-Jones   E. ja Beer J.S. Methods in social neuroscience. New York: Guilford Press. p. 118-147.

2 Setz C., Arnrich B., Schumm J. and La R. (2010) Discriminating Stress From Cognitive Load Using a Wearable EDA Device. IEEE Trans. Inf. Technol. Biomed. 14(2). p. 410-417.

3 Nikula R. (1991) Psychological correlates of nonspecific skin conductance responses. Psychophysiology. 28(1). p.86-90.

4 Poh M.Z, Swenson N.C. and Picard R.W. (2010) A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-Term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 57(4). p. 1243-1252.

 

 

Where to measure electrodermal activity?

This article explains the difference of using a wristband or a ring to measure your emotional intensity levels.

Moodmetric rings

Many things can get you emotionally activated. A close by situation with a colliding car can certainly light all the inner alarm systems, but milder things can also cause strong emotional reactions: seeing your children after a school day, a victory of you favourite basketball team or forgetting to buy paper for your printer.

With any emotional activation, your skin reacts and becomes a better conductor of electricity. This can be resulting from emotional or other psychological causes. The phenomenon is known as the skin conductance response or electrodermal activity (EDA). You may also run into an older term called galvanic skin response.

Based on the scientific research there are only a few places in your body where the EDA can be measured accurately and easily: the palms and the soles of your feet. These are the places where human body has the highest density of eccrine sweat glands that response to the emotional stimuli. You can measure the EDA elsewhere as well but the reliability is not as high or as easily achieved.

We want to bring to the market a very reliable and accurate measurement of emotional activation and intensity that is available for everybody. The choice for having a beautiful jewelry ring as the measurement form was an easy one.

It provides the best optimal measurement data that can be detected from the palm side of wearer’s hand. A ring is also a natural thing to wear and can be used daily as any other jewelry. It is easy to forget that this small, beautiful and non-intrusive jewelry detects your emotional levels and helps you in your life with its data.

What is moodtech? – Science behind Moodmetric

Moodmetric measures the electrodermal activity (EDA) of the skin, which is widely adopted in psychological research 1. EDA is generated by activity of the sweat glands.  Moodmetric measures the palmar skin on your finger. The palmar skin is the recommended EDA measurement location, since it has the highest sweat gland density2.

The unconscious actions of the human body are regulated by the autonomic nervous system. It consists of the sympathetic part and the parasympathetic part. The parasympathetic part controls the body’s rest-and-digest functions and the sympathetic part controls fight-or-flight reactions. When bodily functions are not of interest and the emotional side is, sympathetic nervous system is your choice.

The sweat glands are exclusively innervated by the sympathetic nervous system. This makes EDA an ideal measure for sympathetic activation.2 Electrodermal activity correlates to general emotional intensity, negative emotion, concern, and anxiety. 1, 3 These emotions cause almost similar electrodermal responses, which makes them very hard to differentiate. However, Moodmetric will tell you if certain parts of your day have brought up emotions or not. Inversely, Moodmetric tells you weather you are calm or not. This is particularly useful during your mindfulness, meditation and other calming exercises.

Mobile EDA devices have been used by scientists for some time2, 4, and now we bring this technology within everyone´s reach.

Signal accuracy

The signal accuracy has been proven in a study of 24 people by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health by J. Torniainen et al.. The accuracy against a laboratory grade reference was found to be 83 %. They conclude:

“Clearly the ring sensor can be used to measure a valid EDA signal as indicated by the similarity of both event-related responses and the calculated features. The accuracy of the Moodmetric EDA Ring is adequate for psychological and physiological research when weighted against the advantage of conducting ecologically valid experiments outside laboratory conditions.”

The results have been accepted for publication in the 2015 conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBC 2015, August 25-29).

Our measurement has been proven to be accurate also by University of Tampere, Finland. The correlation with the reference equipment Nexus-10-MK II was good. Comparison details in charts below.

image1 image2 image3 image4

1 Mendes, W.B. (2009). Assessing the autonomic nervous system. In: Harmon-Jones   E. ja Beer J.S. Methods in social neuroscience. New York: Guilford Press. p. 118-147.

2 Setz C., Arnrich B., Schumm J. and La R. (2010) Discriminating Stress From Cognitive Load Using a Wearable EDA Device. IEEE Trans. Inf. Technol. Biomed. 14(2). p. 410-417.

3 Nikula R. (1991) Psychological correlates of nonspecific skin conductance responses. Psychophysiology. 28(1). p.86-90.

4 Poh M.Z, Swenson N.C. and Picard R.W. (2010) A Wearable Sensor for Unobtrusive, Long-Term Assessment of Electrodermal Activity. IEEE Trans. Biomed. Eng. 57(4). p. 1243-1252.

 

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