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Behavioural Nudge or Technological Fudge?

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We all have a pet behaviour we would like to change, such as eating better, exercising more, or reducing our energy consumption. Many of us would also like to manage our time more effectively, by spending less time randomly Googling, sofa slouching or looking out the window. How can we design new technologies to help people change their behaviour? Nudging methods, derived from behavioural economics and social psychology, have become increasingly popular. But how effective are they and can technology be designed to exploit them? In this talk, I will describe our investigations into how decision environments can be re-structured in innovative ways, using pervasive, ambient and wearable technologies to nudge behaviour in ways that are desirable to the individual. Our goal is to help people make better-informed decisions in situ. Underlying all of this, however, is the nagging question of whether it is ethical, desirable or sustainable to be nudging people in a desired direction. Or, is it a case of technological fudging, where we may be covering over deeper problems?

Brief Bio:

From 2006-2011, Yvonne was professor of HCI in the Computing Department at the OU, where she set up the Pervasive Interaction Lab. From 2003-2006, she was a professor in Informatics at Indiana University. Prior to this, she spent 11 years at the former School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences at Sussex University.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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