The Photographic Affect Meter, a novel tool for frequent, unobtrusive measurement of affect.

The assessment of affect is critical for anyone trying to understand human behavior. But there is a problem: affect as a state is frequently changing and difficult to recall and express, yet in research, we typically only assess it via a single questionnaire at the end of a study. So we developed PAM, the Photographic Affect Meter, a novel tool for measuring affect, in which u of photos the one which best suits their current mood. PAM is built in the Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) tradition, intended for frequent and unobtrusive measurement.

Our findings indicate that PAM – which takes seconds to complete and is designed to run on modern mobile phones and mobile computing devices – demonstrates strong construct validity across two studies and is very well suited for frequent sampling in context. This work provides a tool to researchers in need of frequent assessment of affect and guidance to others interested in developing similar measurement tools.


JP Pollak, Phil Adams, Geri Gay



Pollak, J.P., Adams, P., Gay, G. (2011) PAM: A photographic affect meter for frequent, in situ measurement of affect. in the Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011) Vancouver, BC, Canada, May 5-12, pp. 725-734. [ ACM | PDF ]

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