Expereal is a free iPhone app developed to help people better understand themselves, to feel even more connected to the world, and to, hopefully, make more informed decisions about their lives. The marketplace has social media platforms, physical measurement products and mood apps and sites, but nothing that simply helps answer the question: "How's my life going now compared to other time periods (and people and places)… and WHY?" A useful personal life quality tool.
The app was inspired by Daniel Kahneman's book Thinking, Fast and Slow, specifically his discussion of the Experiencing and Remembering Selves (also, subject of his TED talk). Kahneman describes that as we recall past events – whether past relationships, jobs or vacations -- we typically remember their totality in how they ended, NOT how we actually experienced them, regardless of their duration. Interestingly, this cognitive bias also impacts how we think about our lives in the present. For example, if someone asks how our lives are going right after a great date or incredible meal, our response tends to be positive. It's difficult to counterbalance this "peak end bias" to view our lives more holistically. Expereal aims to help us in this endeavor, simply and beautifully, by essentially allowing us to remember our “experiencing selves”.
To this end, Expereal reminds us to “actively” rate our lives on a 1-10 scale at particular moments across time via an interactive color wheel, though people can enter ratings as often as they like. It also offers the option to describe a rating with a location, description and people. On the Profile screen, the averaged ratings are displayed as data visualizations, along with anonymous aggregated average ratings of Facebook friends and all app users. Moreover, on the Visualize screen, people can review their personal past monthly and daily average ratings and can dig deeper by tapping on specific days to recall that day’s individual ratings and associated details.
Expereal hopes to bring the emotional, mental and psychological quantified self movement to a global audience - to help people live better, more fulfilling lives. Future paid iterations will include improved data visualizations and correlations (e.g., “Your ratings at home tend to be higher when you ‘watch football’ and ‘play with kids’.”), as well as a Global Index, whereby people could compare, for instance, how the US rated their lives this week with other countries (or with cities, regions and continents).
Also planned are Android and web versions, as well as the ability to share across additional social networks, such as Facebook, Path and Twitter, and to login with an Expereal-specific username and password.
Jonathan Cohen is the creator of Expereal, a mobile app that allows you to rate and analyze your life through data visualization and analytics, and anonymously compare your ratings with friends and other users.