WVII interviews doctoral student about smartphone emotion regulation research

WVII (Channel 7) spoke with Colin Bosma, a clinical psychology doctoral student at the University of Maine, about his emotion regulation study that uses smartphones as a research tool. “You’re carrying your phone with you anyway, and even that type of data like GPS or how often you’re lifting your phone up, how mobile you are, can really give us a lot of information,” Bosma said. This fall, 110 volunteers will fill out questionnaires and assessments and watch a sad scene from a movie. Then they will create a behavioral profile by using an app on their phones, WVII reported. Bosma will look at digital footprints to see if people who struggle to regulate sadness are less social and less mobile. He said the digital sensors in smartphones can provide that information. “People that are really circumscribed to staying at home, or maybe they’re not socializing as much, not texting as many people, or maybe just one person a lot, that may be indicative of somebody having depressed feelings and they’re having difficulties regulating their emotions,” said Bosma, who added he hopes to someday find specific treatments for people using targeted interventions through the use of an app.