MyTraces: Investigating Correlation and Causation between Users’ Emotional States and Mobile Phone Interaction

Abhinav Mehrotra, Theofania Tsapeli, Robert Hendley, Mirco Musolesi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Most of the existing work concerning the analysis of emotional states and mobile phone interaction has been based on correlation analysis. In this paper, for the first time, we carry out a causality study to investigate the causal links between users’ emotional states and their interaction with mobile phones, which could provide valuable information to practitioners and researchers. The analysis is based on a dataset collected in-the-wild. We recorded 5,118 mood reports from 28 users over a period of 20 days. Our results show that users’ emotions have a causal impact on different aspects of mobile phone interaction. On the other hand, we can observe a causal impact of the use of specific applications, reflecting the external users’ context, such as socializing and traveling, on happiness and stress level. This study has profound implications for the design of interactive mobile systems since it identifies the dimensions that have causal effects on users’ interaction with mobile phones and vice versa. These findings might lead to the design of more effective computing systems and services that rely on the analysis of the emotional state of users, for example for marketing and digital health applications
Original languageEnglish
Article number83
Number of pages21
JournalIMWUT Proceedings of the ACM on Interactive, Mobile, Wearable and Ubiquitous Technologies
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2017


  • mobile sensing
  • causality analysis


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