Preferences & Nudges in Sociotechnical Systems

28 January, 2:30-3:20p,
Mary Gates 271

Every day, millions of people make decisions in digital environments or supported by software tools. Designers of sociotechnical systems influence the choices people make, both intentionally and inadvertently, with their design decisions.

In this talk, I will discuss my research on individual preferences and systems designed to nudge people to be their better selves. I will present two studies of people's preferences for political opinion information and efforts to nudge those preferences (pdf); this study has shown the importance of individual differences in selective exposure theory. I will then give an overview of my current research on using technology to help people live healthier and happier lives.

Resources: Refs · Slides (26MB PDF)

  • Paul Resnick
  • Daniel Xiaodan Zhou
  • Jeremy Canfield
  • Erica Willar
  • Emily Rosengren
  • Cat Hong Le
  • Brian Ford
  • Peter Andrews
  • Sidharth Chhabra
  • Stephanie Lee
  • NSF award #IIS-0916099
  • Yahoo! Key Technical Challenges grant
  • Intel PhD Fellowship
The Balance Project

Aggregators such as Digg, Reddit, and Google News rely on ratings and links to select and present subsets of the large quantity of news and opinion items generated each day. This work requires understanding people's preferences for diversity (CHI 2010), as well as developing methods of selecting diverse sets of items (ICWSM 2009), and presentation techniques to make these sets appealing (CHI 2010). We also study the prevalence of political content on non-political sites, and how people engage with that content. (ICWSM 2011.)

Also see the Balancer Extension.

Health & Wellness (Swellness)

I am building and deploying a series of applications designed to support various aspects of wellness. This work identifies ways to build applications that effectively support health behavior change and will also contribute to our understanding of theories about influence and their interactions with indvidual differences and preferences. Published work includes a study of how people use Facebook and Online Health Communities to support health goals (CSCW 2011), a study of a social version of a positive psychology exercise (Persuasive 2010), and ways to support goal setting and self monitoring on mobile applications (Pervasive Health 2012).

smunson at uw dot edu
423B Sieg Hall
Campus Box 352315

Seattle, WA 98195