Vakgroep Psychologie, Gezondheid & Technologie

An experience sampling study into intra-individual correlations between bodily signals and experienced feelings.


Type of assignment:  Bachelor

Internal or external? Internal                                                                                               

How many students possible? 2

Own data collection or existing data?  Data collection + existing data

Type of research (qualitative empirical, quantitative empirical, mixed-method, literature review): Quantitative   



Wearable technology is becoming available, for example the Apple Watch, that allow consumers to measure their own physiological signals (e.g. heart rate) and potentially share them with others. In many cases, fluctuations in these physiological signals are operationalized by the wearable technology to some kind of human experience: The device is measuring your heart rate, but it would indicate some psychological experience on its screen or a coupled smartphone. This operationalization might seem logical, but empirical studies and theories on psychophysiology and human feeling show and theorize that these kind of substitutions are problematic.


In this study you will examine to what extent fluctuations in self-reported feeling (both the construct of energy (low to high) and valence (unpleasant to pleasant) of people best predicts the physiological signals that are captured by a wearable bio-sensor, the E4 from empatica. This watch-like bio sensor (although it doesn’t tell you the time) can measure both heart rate and skin conductance (Fletcher, Poh, & Eydgahi, 2010). These two signals capture the activity of different parts of the human nervous system to a different degree. Skin conductance, for example, is supposed to mostly capture the activity of the sympathetic part of the autonomic nervous system (Boucsein, 2012). This part of the nervous system is very often associated with the energy dimension of feeling within dimensional theories of emotion (Russell, 2009). However, a limited amount of studies have systematically tested whether such an operationalization makes sense in people’s daily lives.


Who are we looking for?

Four enthusiastic students who are interested in the way the everyday human feelings is related to bodily signals.



Approximately 10 E4 wearables (data collection  happens in April, May and June) and the TiiM app for the experience sampling.



Dr. Matthijs Noordzij / Dr. Miriram Radstaak



Boucsein, W. (2012). Electrodermal Activity (2nd ed.). New York, NY, USA: Springer.

Fletcher, R. R., Poh, M. Z., & Eydgahi, H. (2010). Wearable sensors: Opportunities and challenges for low-cost health care. 2010 Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, EMBC’10, 1763–1766.

Russell, J. A. (2009). Emotion, core affect, and psychological construction. Cognition and Emotion, 23(7), 1259–1283.