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I'm Leaving Mind Window

Last night I uninstalled Mind Window after being on it for several weeks. I like the idea of recording my thoughts at random, but realized that the method of asking is not going to get an accurate picture.  I'll explain.

I found myself answering pretty much the same way each and every time when asked because the environment was the same, i.e. environment was quiet and boring, my activity was either watching TV or reading, my feeling of pleasantness and arousal was neutral, etc.  This was because I could answer the questions easily from home when prompted. But other times when I was away from home I couldn't answer the questions because the timing wasn't convenient, like when I was driving, or jogging, or in deep conversation with someone and taking a five minute pause would lose the momentum of the discussion, or taking a medical test like an MRI. These all would have been great opportunities to record different thoughts, but I was in no position to stop and pull out my cell phone.

I realized Mind Window wasn't really gaining access to a wide variety of my thoughts, only those thoughts that were under a very specific set of circumstances.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. Mind Window is set up to send notifications to users at several times throughout their day. The idea behind this isn't to annoy people (!) but to accommodate the fact that there will certainly be circumstances in our life that prevent us from being able to respond within the 10 minute window (e.g., driving, bathing, etc.). However, your issue is valid as, outside of those circumstances, we don't have any control over when someone chooses to answer based on convenience.

The most accurate way for measuring what we are studying would be to have some sort of 'mind-reading' technology that doesn't interrupt someone, but still captures in-the-moment information. We still seem pretty far away from any technology like that. Even if we did have it, what kind of ethical problems would that create!?! The best we can do at this point is to encourage users to answer as many prompts as absolutely possible, whether convenient or not.

Even though you found yourself replying only in certain circumstances, your data are still going to be useful. One advantage of this project is that we already have thousands of users and tens of thousands of check-ins. In lieu of having responses for all available check-ins, we're looking into the use of machine learning algorithms that might be able to accurately 'fill in the gaps' for users based upon their similarity to other users. While not as accurate as the aforementioned mind-reading, this might give us an adequate solution to overcome some of the limitations that come along with sampling from daily life.

Once again, thanks for your thoughts and your participation! We appreciate the time you've spent toward the goals of this study project.