Psychophysiology of relaxation apps

Comparing psychophysiological relapse of smartphone relaxation apps


Feb 2018 – Present


Mindfulness meditation, guided breathing techniques, and relaxation exercises have been known to help individual de-stress in their everyday lives. In fact, there are more than 700 mobile applications on Google PlayStore that claim to improve overall well-being using these known ancient techniques. However, translating a hands-on technique requiring a personal coach/guru to mobile format is often challenging. In fact, there is a dearth of research in studying the effectiveness of these applications in helping their users relax.

In particular, there is little clinical evidence on the effect of these applications on our psychophysiological responses. Therefore, in this project, we are evaluating some of the most popular mindfulness applications on Google PlayStore (based on their reviews and download rates) using electrodermal activity (galvanic skin response) and cardiovascular activity (heart rate and heart rate variability). Electrodermal activity is measured using wrist-worn Q-sensors and cardiovascular activity is measured using chest-worn actiwave (as shown below). This is an on-going work and I will update more information as we complete our data collection.

Technology Used: 

Q-Sensors (Electrodermal Activity), Actiwave (Heart Rate Monitoring), Android


Experiment Design, Data Collection, Data Analysis

Skills Developed: 

EDA Data Analysis, Physiological Assessment, Biosensors Fusion


Catalina Cumpanasoiu (Ph.D. Student, Northeastern University)