Relevant Research

I recently discovered a few keyword phrases that have opened up new avenues of research I was unfamiliar with: digital mindfulness, positive technology, positive computing, contemplative computing, human-computer interaction (HCI), and cyberpsychology. Other keyword phrases include: techno-spirituality, slow design. This morning, I managed to discover a plethora of new articles that may shine new light on my direction. As I read through them, I plan to post my takeaways here.

Contemplative Computing, A. Pang, 2011, Microsoft Research Cambridge

  • Many similarities to my research! Pang recognizes that the very phrase “contemplative computing” sounds “oxymoronic” in that technology tends to interrupt and disperse our attention across various activities. Current solutions include “distraction-free” software, personal management software, and digital detoxes. Pang believes that technology can be created in a way that engages rather than distracts. Technology “eroded our individual and collective intelligence, our memories, and our capacity for sustained and deep thought.” He creates a series of design principles for users and designers.
  • “…contemplative computing cannot be a single form of interaction between user and technology, nor can it be triggered by a particular set of features. The best designers can do is invite users to be contemplative, and to support their efforts to work more thoughtfully or mindfully” (pp. 16–17).
  • “Thoughtful interaction design can help users arrive at calm through engagement, reach contemplation through self-experimentation, and find balance by respecting the fluid tension that exists between users, technologies, and the world. It recognizes that the main challenge is not to create technologies that possess particular properties, but to support users’ exploration and the development of their skills. This requires recognizing that contemplation is hard work, and most of that hard work must be done by users: designers can facilitate the process, but ultimately contemplative computing is practiced by users” (p. 17).
  • “The Net seizes our attention only to scatter it.” [Carr 2010]
  • Pang’s Principles:
    • Build awareness through DIY and self-experimentation—invite tinkering

    • Recognize that we are cyborgs, and humans

    • Create rewarding challenges

    • Support mind-wandering

    • Treat flow as a means, not an end

Making Wellbeing: A Process of User-Centered Design, Marshall, Thieme, Wallace, Vines, Wood & Balaam, 2014

  • Psychology recognizes two related approaches to wellbeing: hedonic and eudemonic. The hedonic approach recognizes wellbeing as the “presence of positive affect and the absence of negative affect” (Diener et al., 2006). Pleasure = happiness. The eudemonic approach recognizes wellbeing as a result of a life of “meaning and purpose.” Self-determination theory (SDT) explains how we might achieve eudemonic wellbeing through control over one’s life, competence, and meaningful personal relationships.

Aesthetics and User-Centered Design, Wright, Wallace, & McCarthy, 2008

  • A framework for aesthetic of interaction and suggested sensibilities for designing aesthetic interaction.

Positive technology: using interactive technologies to promote positive functioning, Giuseppe Riva, 2012

  • Positive technology: “the scientific and applied approach to the use of technology for improving the quality of our personal experience through its structuring, augmentation, and/or replacement—as a way of framing a suitable object of study in the field of cyberpsychology and human–computer interaction.”
  • Cyberpsychology: “…to create technologies that contribute to enhancement of happiness and psychological well-being” (Amichai-Hamburger Y., 2009).
  • I am researching how technology can be used to affect engagement/actualization to promote positive functioning.
  • Positive computing: “the study and development of information and communication technology that is consciously designed to support people’s psychological flourishing in a way that honors individuals’ and communities’ different ideas about the good life’’ (Sander, 2011).

Read/watch later:

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