Experience-sampling is a powerful method for understanding a range of psychological phenomena as they occur in the daily lives of individuals. In this primer, we discuss the different techniques, equipment, and design options available to the experience-sampling researcher. We place special emphasis on computerized procedures and discuss the crucial social dynamic of the research team, which optimizes the success of experience-sampling procedures.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Bargh, J.A.: 1994, ‘The four horsemen of automacticity’, in R.S. Wyer and T.K. Srull (eds), Handbook of Social Cognition (Erlbaum, Hillside, NJ), pp. 1–40.
Barrett, D.J. and L. Feldman Barrett: 2000, The Experience-Sampling Program (ESP). (http://www2.bc.edu/~barretli/esp/).
Bolger, N., A. Davis and E. Rafaeli: 2003, ‘Diary methods: Capturing life as it is lived’, Annual Review of Psychology 54, pp. 579–616.
Bryk, A.S. and S.W. Raudenbush: 1992, Hierarchical Linear Models: Applications and Data Analysis Methods (Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks, CA, US).
Chalmers, D.J.: 1996, The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory, Philosophy of Mind Series, Oxford University Press, New York.
Conner Christensen, T., J.V. Wood and L. Feldman Barrett: (2003), ‘Remembering everyday events through the prism of self-esteem’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Volume 29(1), pp. 51–62.
Csikszentmihalyi, H. and R. Larson, 1987, ‘Validity and reliability of the experiencesampling method’, Mental disorders in their natural settings: The application of time allocation and experience-sampling techniques in psychiatry, Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 175(9), pp. 526–536 (special issue).
Csikszentmihalyi, M. and R. Larson: 1992, ‘Validity and reliability of the experiencesampling method’, in M.W. deVries (eds), The Experience of Psychopathology: Investigating Mental Disorders in their Natural Settings (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK), pp. 43–57.
de Vries, M., C. Dijkman-Caes and P. Delespaul: 1990, ‘The sampling of experience: A method of measuring the co-occurrence of anxiety and depression in daily life’, in J.D. Maser and C.R. Cloninger (eds), Comorbidity of Mood and Anxiety Disorders (American Psychiatric Press, Washington, DC), pp. 707–726.
DePaulo, B.M., D.A. Kashy, S.E. Kirkendol, M.M. Wyer and J.A. Epstein: 1996, ‘Lying in everyday life’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70(5), pp. 979–995.
Delespaul, P.A.E.G.: 1992, ‘Technical note: Devices and time-sampling procedures’, in M.W. de Vries (ed.), The Experience of Psychopathology: Investigating Mental Disorders in their Natural Settings (Cambridge University Press, New York), xvii, pp. 363–373.
Feldman, L.A.: 1995, ‘Valence focus and arousal focus: Individual differences in the structure of affective experience’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 69, pp. 153–166.
Feldman Barrett, L.: 1998, ‘Discrete emotions or dimensions? The role of valence focus and arousal focus’, Cognition and Emotion 12(4), pp. 579–599.
Feldman Barrett, L.: 2003, ‘Feelings or words? Understanding the content in selfreport ratings of emotional experience’, Manuscript under review.
Feldman Barrett, L. and D.J. Barrett: 2001, ‘An introduction to computerized experience sampling in psychology’, Social Science Computer Review 19(2), pp. 175–185.
Gable, S.L., H.T. Reis and A.J. Elliot: 2000, ‘Behavioral activation and inhibition in everyday life’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78(6), pp. 1135–1149.
Greenwald, A.G. and M.R. Banaji: 1995, ‘Implicit social cognition: attitudes, selfesteem, and stereotypes’, Psychological Review 102(1), pp. 4–27.
Harrison, D.A. and M.E. McLaughlin: 1993, ‘Cognitive processes in self-report responses: Tests of item context effects in work attitude measures’, Journal of Applied Social Psychology 78, pp. 129–140.
Hormuth, S.E.: 1986, ‘The sampling of experiences in situ’, Journal of Personality 54, pp. 262–293.
Hurlburt, R.T.: 1997, ‘Randomly sampling thinking in the natural environment’, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 65, pp. 941–949.
Kernis, M.H., D.P. Cornell, C.R. Sun, A. Berry and T. Harlow: 1993, ‘There's more to self-esteem than whether it is high or low: The importance of stability of selfesteem’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 65(6), pp. 1190–1204.
Klein, S.B.: 2001, ‘A self to remember: A cognitive neuropsychological perspective on how self creates memory and memory creates self’, in C. Sedikides and M. Brewer (eds), Individual Self, Relational Self, Collective Self (Psychology Press, Philadelphia), pp. 25–46.
Litt, M.D., N.L. Cooney and P. Morse: 1998, ‘Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) with alcoholics: Methodological problems and potential solutions’, Health Psychology 17, pp. 48–52.
Nezlek, J.B.: 2001, ‘Multilevel random coefficient analyses of event and interval contingent data in social and personality psychology research’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27, pp. 771–785.
Nezlek, J.B. and S.L. Gable: 2001, ‘Depression as a moderator of relationships between positive daily events and day-to-day psychological adjustment’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 27(12), pp. 1692–1704.
Nezlek, J.B., L. Wheeler and H.T. Reis: 1983, ‘Studies of social participation’, New Directions for Methodology of Social and Behavioral Science 15, pp. 57–73.
Oishi, S. 2002, ‘The experiencing and remembering of well-being: A cross cultural analysis’, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 28(10), pp. 1398–1406.
Penner, L.A., S. Shiffman, J.A. Paty and B.A. Fritzsche: 1994, ‘Individual differences in intraperson variability in mood’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 66(4), pp. 712–721.
Pietromonaco, P. and L. Feldman Barrett: 1997, ‘Working models of attachment and daily social interactions’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 73(6), pp. 1409–1423.
Pogue, D.: 1999, PalmPilot: The Ultimate Guide (2nd ed) (O'Reilly & Associates, Sebastopol, CA).
Reis, H.T. and S.L. Gable: 2000, ‘Event sampling and other methods for studying daily experience’, in H.T. Reis and C.M. Judd (eds), Handbook of Research Methods in Social and Personality Psychology (Cambridge University Press, New York), pp. 190–222.
Reis, H.T. and L. Wheeler: 1991, ‘Studying social interaction with the Rochester Interaction Record’, Advances in Experimental Social Psychology 24, pp. 269–318.
Robinson, M.D. and G.L. Clore: (2002), ‘Belief and feeling: Evidence for an accessibility model of emotional self-report’, Psychological Bulletin 128(6), pp. 934–960.
Ross, M.: 1989, ‘Relation of implicit theories to the construction of personal histories’, Psychological Review 96, pp. 341–357.
Schwartz, J.E., J. Neale, C. Marco. S.S. Shiffman and A.A. Stone: 1999, ‘Does trait coping exist? A momentary assessment approach to the evaluation of traits’, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77(4), pp. 360–369.
Shiffman, S.: 2000, ‘Real-time self-report of momentary states in the natural environment: Computerized ecological momentary assessment’, in A.A. Stone, J.S. Turkkan, C.A. Cachrach, J.B. Jobe, H.S. Kurtzman and V.S. Cain (eds), The Science of Self-report: Implications for Research and Practice (Erlbaum, Mahwah, NJ), pp. 277–296.
Shiffman, S., J.A. Paty, M. Gnys, J.D. Kassel and C. Elash: 1995, ‘Nicotine withdrawal in chippers and regular smokers: Subjective and cognitive effects’, Health Psychology 14(4), pp. 301–309.
Snijders, T. and R. Bosker: 1999, Multilevel Analysis: An Introduction to Basic and Advanced Multilevel Modeling (Sage Publishers, London).
Snijders, T., R. Bosker and H. Guldemond: 1999, ‘The Power analysis IN Two-level designs (PINT) software’, Available at http://stat.gamma.rug.nl/multilevel.htm.
Stone, A., R. Kessler and J. Haythornthwaite: 1991, ‘Measuring daily events and experiences: Decisions for the researcher’, Journal of Personality 59, pp. 575–608.
Stone, A.A. and S. Shiffman: 1994, ‘Ecological momentary assessment (EMA) in behavioral medicine’, Annals of Behavioral Medicine 16, pp. 199–202.
Tulving, E.: 1985, ‘How many memory systems are there?’ American Psychologist 40(4), pp. 385–398.
Wheeler, L. and H. Reis: 1991, ‘Self-recording of everyday life events: Origins, types, and uses’, Journal of Personality 59, pp. 339–354.
About this article
Cite this article
Christensen, T.C., Barrett, L.F., Bliss-Moreau, E. et al. A Practical Guide to Experience-Sampling Procedures. Journal of Happiness Studies 4, 53–78 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1023609306024
- Public Health
- Research Team
- Social Psychology
- Powerful Method
- Computerize Procedure