The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR): A device for sampling naturalistic daily activities and conversations

Abstract

A recording device called the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) is described. The EAR tape-records for 30 sec once every 12 min for 2–4 days. It is lightweight and portable, and it can be worn comfortably by participants in their natural environment. The acoustic data samples provide a nonobtrusive record of the language used and settings entered by the participant. Preliminary psychometric findings suggest that the EAR data accurately reflect individuals’ natural social, linguistic, and psychological lives. The data presented in this article were collected with a first-generation EAR system based on analog tape recording technology, but a second generation digital EAR is now available.

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Correspondence to James W. Pennebaker.

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Preparation of this paper was aided by Grant MH52391 to J.W.P. from the National Institutes of Health and by a scholarship to M.R.M. from the German National Scholarship Foundation.

Note: J.H.P. has a financial interest in the production of the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR). —Editor

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Mehl, M.R., Pennebaker, J.W., Crow, D.M. et al. The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR): A device for sampling naturalistic daily activities and conversations. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers 33, 517–523 (2001). https://doi.org/10.3758/BF03195410

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Keywords

  • Monitoring Period
  • Ecological Momentary Assessment
  • Experience Sampling Method
  • Ongoing Behavior
  • Controller Board