How it works...

Start by signing up for a free account at Moodscope.com. We’ll take a few details from you like your name, year of birth and gender, and you’ll need to choose a password. Then we’ll confirm your email address by sending you a message containing a link that you need to click on. That’s it. You’re signed up.

Now, measure your mood every day by visiting the website and logging in with your email address and password. We’ve found it’s best to do this at the same time each day. The early morning, soon after you’ve woken up, works best as it seems to capture your mood before the events of the day have kicked in. These can have a tendency to change your mood (usually temporarily) either upwards or downwards. What you’re really after is capturing your baseline mood at the same time every day.

The mood-measuring itself is straightforward. You’ll be shown twenty double-sided playing cards, each of which represents an emotion like ‘alert’ or ‘nervous’. The cards can be flipped back to front or spun head to toe (try it below) to choose one of four degrees to which you might be feeling that emotion, on a scale from ‘Very slightly or not at all’ to ‘Extremely’. The cards will be shown in a different order every day so the test feels fresh every time you take it.

Having taken the test, you’ll receive your Moodscope score: a percentage between 0 and 100, indicating how happy or sad you are. 100% is very happy, while 0% suggests that your spirits are extremely low. Moodscope stores your scores every day, and plots them on a line graph so you can track your ups and downs as time goes by. The graph also shows your all-time average, as well as the highest and lowest levels you’ve ever reached.

You’ll track your own mood with Moodscope, but perhaps the best bit is being able to nominate someone - or more than one person if you like - to act as a ‘buddy’ for you. Each day when you’ve taken the test, Moodscope will automatically email your score to your buddies, along with a link to your graph so they can follow your progress. A buddy could be a trusted friend or colleague. They could be a partner or relative. They might even be a counsellor or therapist.

There's a phenomenon called The Hawthorne Effect in psychology, first observed during a series of experiments on factory workers which were carried out in the USA in the 1920s. The experimenters aimed to investigate how environmental changes, such as brighter or more subdued lighting, influenced the workers’ productivity.

When the lights were turned up, productivity increased. But much to the experimenters’ surprise, it also increased when the lights went down. In fact, each time the lighting changed, productivity went up. The conclusion was that the workers responded favourably to the interest that was being shown in them, so they became more productive when they knew they were being observed.

These days, psychology experiments usually try to eliminate the Hawthorne Effect, so that their outcomes are not influenced by the experiment itself. Moodscope does just the opposite. It seems to us that the very act of knowing that someone else is keeping an eye on your mood may well help to raise your spirits.

There are plenty of examples in other areas of life which suggest that monitoring something regularly can lead to positive change:

  • People who wear a pedometer tend to walk a mile a day more, on average, than those who don’t.
  • Dieters who weigh themselves every day lose more weight than those who weigh themselves less frequently.
  • Problem drinkers who are asked to keep a diary of their alcohol consumption tend to reduce their drinking over a period of time.

The first people to experiment with Moodscope have noticed similar effects over time: tracking their mood and sharing it seems to have caused them to be happier.