Name It: The Science of Emotional Granularity

Have you ever received an email with a low-quality image? Like, a hideously low-quality image? No matter how much you zoom in, you can’t really perceive much of what’s happening in the picture. It’s too grainy, too pixelated, and too blurry to really convey what it’s supposed to.

Just like a low-resolution image, many of us have a low-resolution understanding of our emotions. Researchers call this “emotional granularity,” which refers to the ability to differentiate and label emotions with precision (Barrett, 2004).

In today’s modern workplace, many of us have relatively low emotional granularity. This is a problem because understanding and naming our emotions is the first step towards emotional intelligence (EI). In fact, research has shown that being able to identify and label our feelings accurately can significantly improve our emotional regulation and overall mental health (Gross, 2014).

So, how do we make it easier for everyone to understand the full emotional spectrum they feel each day? One innovative approach to this is the use of color-emotion associations, a concept that Mood has incorporated based on cutting-edge scientific research from the University of Adelaide.

The Emotional Spectrum

While the connection between colors and emotions has been acknowledged for centuries, comprehending emotions based solely on color has always been complex. A groundbreaking study conducted by the CNS Lab at the University of Adelaide explored this connection in depth (Jones et al., under review).

This study reveals a fascinating and reliable connection between color and emotion, showing how different colors can represent diverse emotional experiences. The color-emotion map derived from this research has significant implications for mental health and digital interface design, offering a new, intuitive way to understand and communicate emotions.

Harnessing Colour for Good

At Mood, we’ve harnessed the insights from this pioneering research to develop our Digital Mood Assessment Tool (DMAT). By integrating the color-emotion map, Mood allows users to log their emotions through simple color check-ins. This method is not only intuitive but also non-judgmental.

All emotions belong, just like all colors belong. This approach makes it easier for users to identify and name their emotions accurately, without the socially desirable responding often found in self-reporting.

What’s In a Name

When we put a name to our emotions, we’re building an excellent foundation for emotional intelligence—especially at work. Employees who accurately label their feelings can better understand and manage their emotional responses. This self-awareness leads to improved decision-making, enhanced interpersonal relationships, and a more psychologically safe workplace (Goleman, 1995).

By using the power of color to help name emotions, Mood provides an innovative tool that boosts emotional intelligence (EQ) at work. Through our app, employees can track their emotions over time, gain insights into their emotional patterns, and receive personalized resources to help them navigate their emotional landscape.

“Research has shown that being able to identify and label our feelings accurately can significantly improve our emotional regulation and overall mental health.”

Mood harnesses the science of color-emotion associations to not only make the process of naming emotions more accessible but to transform it into a visually engaging and scientifically validated experience.This unique approach helps individuals and organizations foster a culture of emotional intelligence, leading to healthier, more productive workplaces.

Sure, life at work can often be a blur. But emotional granularity is the key to making your emotions crystal clear, and leveling up the EI in your workplace.

Want to see what’s next? Join our waitlist and be one of the very first organisations to maximise the emotional intelligence of your team with the power of Mood.

  • Barrett, L. F. (2004). Feelings or words? Understanding the content in self-report ratings of experienced emotion. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 266-281.
  • Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ. New York: Bantam Books.
  • Gross, J. J. (2014). Emotion regulation: Conceptual and practical issues. New York: Guilford Press.
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