Dartmouth researchers and their colleagues have built the first smartphone app that automatically reveals students’ mental health, academic performance and behavioral trends. In other words, your smartphone knows your state of mind—even if you don’t—and how that affects you.
“The StudentLife app is able to continuously make mental health assessment 24/7, opening the way for a new form of assessment,” says computer science Professor Andrew Campbell, the study’s senior author. “This is a very important and exciting breakthrough.”
The researchers built an Android app that monitored readings from smartphone sensors carried by 48 Dartmouth students during a 10-week term to assess their mental health (depression, loneliness, stress), academic performance (grades across all their classes, term GPA and cumulative GPA) and behavioral trends (how stress, sleep, visits to the gym, etc., change in response to college workload—assignments, midterms, finals—as the term progresses).
They used computational method and machine learning algorithms on the phone to assess sensor data and make higher level inferences (i.e., sleep, sociability, activity, etc.) The app that ran on students phones automatically measured the following behaviors 24/7 without any user interaction: sleep duration, the number and duration of conversations per day, physical activity (walking, sitting, running, standing), where they were located and how long they stayed there (i.e., dorm, class, party, gym), stress level, how good they felt about themselves, eating habits and more. The researchers used a number of well known pre- and post-mental health surveys and spring and cumulative GPAs for evaluation of mental health and academic performance, respectively.
(All information from Medicalxpress)