Animal studies of environmental enrichment suggest that diverse and novel experiences promote affective well-being. Because humans live in complex and dynamic environments, exposure to novel and diverse experiences may depend in part on the degree to which individuals explore their environments. In this talk, I will present recent work in which we used longitudinal geolocation tracking and affective experience sampling to examine the relation between day-to-day variability in physical location (“roaming entropy”) and fluctuations in positive affect. I will present findings demonstrating that increases in daily roaming entropy are associated with greater positive affect, that this effect is associated with functional connectivity within a hippocampal-striatal circuit, and that mean levels of roaming entropy increase across adolescence. I will discuss how this work may relate to theoretical models of depression, a disorder associated with both behavioral inertia and reductions in positive affect.






Assistant Professor of Psychology and Neural Science
Department of Psychology
New York University


Catherine Hartley – Affective benefits of daily experiential diversity