Self-Recording of Everyday Life Events: Origins, Types, and Uses


  • For giving us important information, we thank Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Ann Dell Duncan, Russell Hurlburt, Eric Klinger, Victor Laties, and John Nezlek. For comments on an earlier draft, we thank Reed Larson and the editors of this special issue.

Address correspondence to Ladd Wheeler, Department of Psychology, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627.


ABSTRACT In this article we review the history of the scientific use of self-recording and conclude that there are three basic methods: (a) interval-contingent, in which respondents report on their experiences at regular intervals, (b) signal-contingent, in which respondents report when signaled, and (c) event-contingent, in which respondents report whenever a defined event occurs. We then discuss the relative merits of these techniques for answering different questions. Finally, we note that self-recording of small events is a departure from the science of psychology as typically practiced, requiring an acceptance of reality as defined by respondents.