Using the EAR to Examine Couples’ Everyday Conversations

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Event Type: 
Seminar Series
Date and Time: 
Monday, November 21, 2016
2:00 pm – 3:30 pm
Megan Robbins
UC Riverside

The Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) is a naturalistic observation method that runs on an iPod Touch, and unobtrusively records snippets of ambient sounds from participants’ environments. In tracking moment-to-moment ambient sounds, it yields acoustic logs of people’s normal, daily life, allowing objective assessment of audible aspects of social environments and behaviors (e.g., time spent alone, emotional expression, interaction styles). This talk will give an overview of the EAR conceptually and methodologically, and demonstrate its use in a study of couples coping with breast cancer. Specifically, the EAR can a) provide ecologically-valid, observational measures of social processes that are independent of self-report (e.g. behavioral outcomes for intervention work); b) help with the assessment of subtle and habitual social behaviors that evade self-report but have important implications (e.g., for health or relationship quality); and c) be employed with other daily life methods (e.g., ecological momentary assessment; pedometer; actigraphy) to track the interrelations of real-time psychosocial processes as they unfold naturally.