In the mood

February 5, 2020 | Science

Everyone knows a moody person — someone who swings from emotion to emotion, sometimes all of a sudden. And though it’s normal to have fluctuations in mood, there are just some whose mood changes negatively affect the people around them.

Revestin Matias has experienced encounters with moody people herself, and now the fourth-year psychology honours student is how we detect moodiness in others.

Title of work: “Detecting Mood Variability at Zero-Acquaintance”

About the research

Revestin’s study examines whether people are able to detect how someone’s mood fluctuates by observing their facial appearance. In the first part of her study, 200 target participants had their photo taken and answered questions about their typical mood, following up with daily surveys about how much their mood varied over a five-day period. In the second part, a set of 80 participants — called “perceivers” viewed the targets’ photos and indicated the extent to which they think the targets’ mood fluctuates.

“Past research has shown that people who are very moody are more likely to experience poorer psychological and physical health, and they also experience greater interpersonal dysfunction, so they have difficulties adapting in social situations,” says Revestin. “Using the data we collect, we want to see if we can detect mood variability at first glance.”

What's next?

Revestin’s research is ongoing and she will be presenting her findings at Student Research Day in April. Her research intersects with that of her supervisor, Dr. Miranda Giacomin, assistant professor of psychology, who has studied first impressions and what eyebrows can tell us about narcissism.



Share your work

There are many ways to share – and celebrate – work you’re proud of, including MacEwan’s Student Research Day and a range of on-campus student conferences and forums.


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