Assessment Instrument: Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR)
The EAR is a scientific instrument for recording short snippets of ambient sounds (e.g., 30 sec every 12.5 min). Participants activate an app or wear a device while the recorder creates audio files.
Inventor: The EAR was developed by psychological scientist Matthais Mehl.
DATA: The raw data are acoustic files.
Researchers can listen to the data or read a transcript to search for targeted data. For example, a researcher could search for evidence of humility or anger.
Researchers could use a coding strategy to identify multiple target sounds, words, or phrases.
The data could be analyzed for social environmental data using the Social Environment Coding of Sound Inventory (SECSI; Mehl & Pennebaker, 2003).
Researchers can submit the data for qualitative or quantitative text analysis.
Examples of participant EAR data (See Tackman & Mehl, 2003.)
1. Location of the person (e.g., home, vehicle)
2. Behavior (e.g., watching a movie, working)
3. Verbal behavior (e.g., talking with others by phone, in person, expressing thoughts)
4. Indications of emotion (e.g., laughing, arguing)
Mehl, M. R. (2017). The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR): A Method for the Naturalistic Observation of Daily Social Behavior. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 26(2), 184-190. https://doi.org/10.1177/0963721416680611
Mehl, M. R., & Pennebaker, J. W. (2003). The sounds of social life: A psychometric analysis of students’ daily social environments and natural conversations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84, 857–870
Tackman, A.M., Mehl, M.R. (2017). Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR). In: Zeigler-Hill, V., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-28099-8_657-1
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