‘The most important moments can’t (or shouldn’t) be counted’. This is the conclusion Emma Pierson draw after analysing her relationship through statistics. She decided to apply Quantified-self to probably the most difficult thing to measure: a love relationship.

The analysis

Over 5,500 emails she and her boyfriend exchanged for four years were analysed and turned into a digital register of their relationship.

Mainly by statistically analysing the words used by each one of them in these emails, Pierson was able to find patterns and to obtain data from which she could rely on when taking decisions. This means that she was able to extract a set of conclusions about the attitude of each partner towards the other in different moments of the relationship.

Reality through statistics

After facing ‘the darkness’ behind any relationship, Pierson highlights that statistics can be surprising and, at the same time, extremely powerful. ‘Maybe love does not understand (and even needs) such a detailed analysis’.

In this article, she states some reasons that support this idea. A relationship cannot be fully measured through data and statistics. We can only quantify some lines and these do not allow us to view the big picture. A relationship is built based on the moments lived and not on the digital shadows left behind. That’s why; she suggests leaving data for what we can objectively measure.

Is future involves quantifying feelings?

Statistics have certain limits and, even though we can measure our expressions or our physical responses, we cannot concentrate our feelings into a handful of data.

On the other side, there are already many companies that focus on quantifying our sense of humour, emotions and even our social behaviour. The value of these data depends on the context and on the application that has the knowledge extracted from the analysis.

Even though there are things that are really odd when quantified, the knowledge that quantifying our emotions and feelings would provide with are the door to countless possibilities of self-knowledge. Are feelings the future of Quantified-self?

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Image: Ani-Bee


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