Winter is upon us, which means you’re likely either in the throes of cuffing season or about to embark on yet another months-long case of the blues. But that may soon be avoidable. A new app, appropriately called HappyPlace, promises to help users manage their moods and get their spirits up, criminally early sunset be damned.

HappyPlace fights gloom by encouraging users to interpret data from people’s faces in a more positive way. Rather than assume that people with ambiguous faces are projecting negative attitudes, the makers of HappyPlace want you to think positively about how you see in their faces. The use of cognitive bias training is expected to uplift moods. It also includes more conventional mood-tracking techniques.

Here’s how it works, as per the Guardian:

“The app shows people composite merged faces whose expressions fall in various places along a continuum from ‘happy’ to ‘sad’. The faces appear in a random order, and the user is forced to say whether each one is happy or sad, even for the ambiguous ones which are made up of practically equal levels of happy and sad. Peoples’ boundaries don’t always fall in the same place, but the app assesses your individual boundary.

Then the user sees a load more of these faces, and after answering whether they’re happy or sad, the app this time gives feedback on the answer. But the feedback is slightly biased. The faces just on the ‘sad’ side of the user’s personal boundary are classified as ‘happy’ by the app, so when the user says they’re sad, the app tells them that they’re wrong.”

A preliminary study has suggested that HappyPlace is effective in making people feel better, but a larger research study is being carried out now in a bid to confirm that finding statistically. The wellbeing app is available in the iTunes store for $1.99.

[via BetaBeat]