Another experiment, but with a serious health warning.

Happy Sunday, I hope.

Here in the US, however, the clocks spring forward this morning, so it’ll be an earlier start for those of us on this side of the pond.

Now, I’d like to invite you to participate in another of my experiments, although this one does come with a major health warning.

Please tread carefully, particularly if your mood may be fragile at the moment.

You see, I’ve been thinking long and hard about a way to give much more customised feedback to someone after they’ve rated their emotional health, and I’m specially interested in how this might work in audio form, rather than as words on a page.

I’ve therefore assembled a VERY early prototype of such a system, somewhat held together with rubber bands and sticky tape.

If you’re keen to try it out and – really importantly – can accept that it’s quite possible it could give you feedback that’s not correct, I’d love you to have a play with it.

One particular word of warning is that it’s highly sensitive at the moment, so it could – for example – tell you that you’re anxious even if you only have a terribly mild case of butterflies.

Or it might classify your mood as low when you simply haven’t had your coffee yet.

With these provisos, please feel free to play with the system. Maybe do it a first time with your real answers, then again with made-up (and perhaps more extreme) responses to get an idea of how different answers might generate different feedback.

And I’d truly encourage you to use the Comments section on the blog to share your thoughts. All feedback will be most gratefully received.

So, as long as you please take care, please click here to begin.

Thank you. My fingers are crossed.

38 thoughts on “Another experiment, but with a serious health warning.

  1. Hi Jon, have just listened to your feedback to my answers and had to write – this is brilliant! Hearing a sympathetic voice first made me cry – you understood – and then the non-judgment, along with practical advice for varying levels of ability was like having a really understanding friend with me. Thank you, this one is a keeper!

  2. I have taken the test
    The audio is a good idea – I think that that analysis would stay with me longer than if I just read it

  3. Hi Jon, don’t know if you received my comment through sound cloud, bit complex at this time of the morning! I love the audio and that it mixes a comment on your score and a suggestion, in my case, making memories and banking them. My question would be about the band of scores where you would often get the same audio response. I often score in the 70s (lucky me) so would I often hear the same audio? Yours, gratefully, Cate

  4. I enjoyed listening to someone’s voice, it was comforting and it truly sounded as though it was aimed at me personally. The result was bit off- I don’t think I felt as anxious as the advice assumed, but you mentioned it might be a bit sensitive.
    The other thing about getting feedback in audio as with everything that involves sound is you can’t always access it e.g. When in public so maybe also have a written transcript

  5. I scored 73 and got the (great) advice of playing a game on my phone or watching a film to ease any anxiety. I loved having the audio aspect, and I was surprised at how powerful it was to actually ‘hear’ someone acknowledge how exhausting anxiety can be.

  6. Hello Jon,
    Having you talk to me feels very personal and supportive-found it helpful. Actually just the talking was probably just as important as the suggestion itself- (distraction for anxiety). Keep working on it-think you have something good here. I’m going to have another go now for more of your voice!

  7. Hi Jon, Super! And yes, your mixture of comment and suggestion are helpful. I also like the slightly overlapping ‘labels’, which help to pinpoint one’s mood accurately – well as accurately as an ephemeral state of mind can be. The category ‘capable’ is a particularly good one. Cate has posed a question regarding the possibility of repeat audio responses, which I had in mind to ask too. In addition, will there be a charge for this service? Thank you. Best wishes.

    1. At the moment, MA, it’s definitely a matter of playing with the idea, and getting it right. So no thoughts about the basis on which it might be offered to people yet. Hand in hand with that, you’ll see I’ve answered Cate’s question above. I think for it to work, there would need to be different audio each time you used the system…

  8. My mood seems to be ok (92 out of a 100) and I am “doing pretty well”
    The audio message is an excellent idea, it feels very personal and the ideas on how to help sustain the good mood are very inspiring!!!

  9. You have a really chilled out voice Jon, I think that hearing some bodies voice when your feeling particularly anxious can be very soothing indeed, sometimes you just want somebody to tell you it’s going to be ok. I think the audio ideas is great, I’ve been receiving your mood nudges for years now and find it helps me think before I fly off the handle emotionally! Thanks again

  10. Hi John
    I followed your suggestion and experimented with fake answers, my score went down to just 48
    The headline on the audio message was
    “you are feeling generally low” made me feel even worse 🙁
    The beginning of the audio was great but then after each suggestion of what I could do to increase my mood and I was getting excited there was an “excuse ” for me not to do anything such as “I guess that’s also not possible ” and the suggestions were getting smaller and smaller.
    If I actually felt low I guess I would have stuck to the last one and stayed at home, visualising, or potentially not even doing that 🙁
    Do you think that turning the order around would inspire me more ? Starting with visualisation and then getting more and more excited about getting out for a walk/hike ?

  11. Really very good, pinpointing my score as me being “anxious” and I like the advice about distraction for anxiety. I do this automatically in fact without being able to help myself I proquiltinate regularly (quilt when you should or feel you should be doing something else). My whole life is up in the air, I separated from my husband after 40 years in Latin America, came to Europe to be in the country where my kids are – then they both moved far away. I am now working on and off and travelling with my ex-husband, not really the ideal thing for my mental health. Have no idea what country I really want to live in and on it goes. No wonder I am anxious, who wouldn’t be? I liked listening to your voice as well. Thank you so much – I am now going to have a much better day because I understand what is happening to me a little/lot better.

  12. Jon I enjoyed listening to you. Carry on. I was surprised at first to see my generally low mood – but upon thinking a little more – it was accurate – and I have been like this for a few weeks. The change of season and clocks going forward will help me !

  13. Like this Jon, it’s innovative and has great potential. Particularly for those suffering from isolation, a Human voice, that offers understanding, compassion and solutions could make a real difference to someone seeking support or a ‘nudge’ towards mental wellbeing.

  14. Hi Jon, I think this is a breakthrough . . . combining the moodscape scoring system and its immediate recognition of a person’s mental state with a tailored audio encouragement and useful suggestions. This new tool provides a human touch that goes far beyond a textbook or interactive computer exercise. Wow! Thank you for sharing your project. I look forward to more, more, and much, much more of your outreach in the future.

  15. Good, straight forward analysis and helpful suggestion which is eminently practical. Look forward to trying again!

  16. loved this, listening to the voice really makes a huge difference , lovely calm and reassuring. thank you so much.

  17. A lovely addition to your column and your suggestions are good ones for the low mood I currently have. I suspect some of the help your very soothing and sympathetic voice. If this goes along with your book, I could see it adding a helpful component for the 30 days.

  18. great idea. I scored 88 and felt the message and suggestions were very appropriate.

    You are always thinking and creating!

  19. Thank you for soothing my frayed edges! I’d been maintaining a calm and positive face for my beleaguered other half who has stoically endured chronic pain and worsening health for years and as he went to lie down for a bit, I sat down to have a go at this….between admitting how I really feel coupled with your gentle voice and wise words, and a glass of wine, I did dissolve somewhat. But I do feel calmer now and ready to face the world again, albeit with a pink nose. Your advice was to get out and enjoy nature and I do spend time outside each day with dogs but this afternoon I felt mean and heartless at enjoying the break while nothing had changed back home. Dim witted, I know but…

  20. As many others have posted: It’s good to hear a friendly voice. I would guess that if one scored low there would be something very reassuring to hear ‘personal’ feedback. If success breeds success I so reckon that having heard a friendly voice one might be more likely to go out and speak to other people rather than withdraw. Sheena

  21. Thank you for the opportunity to lend a hand in testing out this idea of a voice nudge! I did try it twice with my own authentic responses and then from a different perspective getting two different nudges, both of which were lovely to listen to and contained good ideas for lifting the mood. I really appreciate all the work you are doing to help people suffering from depression and this test with voice nudge is a great idea. PLEASE, keep up the great work!!

  22. This is fabulous! I particularly liked the “if you can’t manage that at this moment…” and offering smaller possibilities. You sound warm, genuine and comforting. It feels like you know and care how this feels and suggest achievable practical ways of making this feel a little better if we want to try it. There’s no expectation, and acknowledging how this might be feeling is good too.

  23. I tried the audio nudges yesterday and I have just done it again. Yesterdays score said that I was angry – which I didn’t really recognise, todays description as “generally low” is much more accurate.
    Yesterday I did the test on my ipad, when I finished the test the “crunch the numbers” box was off the screen and it wasn’t immediately apparent what to do next.

    You have just the right voice for this!
    I like the audio nudge but there may be times when audio isn’t practical so – in the long term would it be possible to have a written version too?
    How many nudges would you need to record? Is it practical for you? You are doing a great job. Thank you.

  24. I tried this first yesterday & think it is really powerful hearing such a compassionate voice with useful suggestions in such a short space of time- wow! Yesterday seemed spot on in pinpointing my mood but today was a bit odd as the analysis was I was feeling ‘angry’ which seemed odd as I’d ticked ‘not at all.’ So this made me wonder if my other scores had added up to it? But I don’t really feel angry at all- so maybe just a glitch?

    Having said that I think this is a fabulous development & one I’ve not seen or heard before which really brings in a human element that is so valuable.

  25. Hey Jon, this was a very nice experience. You do have a calm voice which helps! I tried my angry mood (accurate today), my sad mood (frequent) and my good mood (on sunny days when the sparkly snow and sunlight forces one to be happy, at least in winter; I live in Canada). For the first two you sent me out in the woods which I love doing, as does my dog. My good mood came out a bit anxious (even with a score of 77), which I always am undeniably. So all around I liked the experience and I’d try it again, even just to have a break from the gloomy workings of my own brain. Thanks.

  26. Jon, I did all of the questions at 2 different times, while at different levels of stress but the voice response I received was exactly the same. Could I have been doing something wrong?

  27. Trying again–I commented yesterday but I’m so inept with the computer it doesn’t seem to be showing–we’ll see today. I scored a bit lower today–I had had an enjoyable time with some friends yesterday and relaxing with my weekly yoga class–today my schedule is getting disrupted by an impending huge snowstorm so perhaps that has affected my mood.

    What I said yesterday was how wonderful to hear your calm British voice and how helpful it is to confront what I’m actually feeling and perhaps follow a suggestion to make it better. Keep it up–you help me and so many others!

  28. Really effective. Someone said that it was as much your voice and the care and interest behind the message as the message itself, and I would agree with that.
    I wondered if there are too many questions. And whether it might be easier to be presented with some general areas that I currently identify with, like Sadness or Anxiety, rather than being asked whether you feel such a lot of different things and how much you feel them. It can be confusing, especially when your mood is off!
    All that said, I really think you’re on to something here. I wanted to hear all the others so I’m going back on now as Mrs Angry! Thankyou Jon. Sally S

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