Positive Technologies

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As information and communication technologies become more ubiquitous and pervasive, they increasingly shape the ways we communicate, collaborate and establish new relationships. However, important questions need to be explored: are computers making us happy? Are new ways of interacting with and using technology actually improving the quality of our life, by enhancing our opportunities for growth and self-expression, and making us feel safer and more connected? The recent and growing interest towards these issues is paving the way for a new research area: “Positive Technology”.

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  • The fundamental question is: OK, we have ambient intelligence, we have a lot of wonderful new tools and services, but to which extent are these new technologies contributing to our wellbeing?
  • Can we use technology to improve psychological well-being? Yes, but first we have to understand what are determinants of well being.
  • Positive psychology provides a distinct contrast to the negative focus of the disease-model approach that currently dominates much of psychology. Instead of drawing on a “disease model”, it focuses on factors that enable individuals and communities to thrive and build the best in life areas: wellbeing and its determinants, positive emotions, resilience, creativity, optimism, character strengths and positive institutions
  • Flow experiences have been described as “…holistic sensation(s) that people feel when they act with total involvement”. In other words, these are the times when we don’t feel anything, when time stops, and we are immersed in an activity with intense concentration. The essence of flow experiences, as described by the dancer in the quote above and in Csikszentmihalyi’s groundbreaking 1975 text, Beyond Boredom and Anxiety, captured the interest of rehabilitation professionals.
  • According to Csikszentmihalyi, the basic feature of this experience is the perceived balance between high environmental opportunities for action (challenges) and adequate personal resources in facing them (skills). Additional characteristics are deep concentration, clear rules in and unambiguous feedback from the task at hand, loss of self-consciousness, control on one’s actions and environment, positive affect and intrinsic motivation. Flow can be associated with various daily activities, provided that individuals perceive them as complex opportunities for action and involvement. Csikszentmihalyi argued that flow can increase psychological well-being by helping to create order in consciousness: “When the information that keeps coming into awareness is congruent with goals, psychic energy flows effortlessy” (p. 39). Conversely, a lack of this flow determines disorder, defined by Csikszentmihalyi “psychic entropy”, which corresponds to the experience of apathy.
  • Among the different types of interactive technologies investigated so far by flow researchers, immersive systems such as virtual reality (VR) are considered the most capable of supporting the emergence of this experience. Research thus far conducted highlights some key characteristics of this technology as a source of flow: (a) opportunities for action – thanks to its flexibility, VR provides designers with the possibility of creating a wide range of challenging situations and tasks (b) the tasks presented in the virtual environment can require skills that can be refined and gradually increased during the sessions (c) feedback – VR systems can offer a multimodal feedback to individuals’ actions and behavior (d) control – individuals can experience control of the situation while interacting in the virtual world, while using their abilities (Gaggioli, 2004, 2005).
  • In recent years a growing number of studies have been investigating how to deliver technology-based rehabilitation interventions that will foster optimal flow experience. Many questions have emerged from these studies, including: “How may I foster optimal experiences for all patients?”, “How may I gauge the feedback necessary to maintain patients’ absorption?” and “When may it be important to modify the levels of challenge inherent in the rehabilitation exercise?” Recent research on flow has revealed circumstances in our social and physical environments that may be conducive to flow experiences. These circumstances may provide useful bases for making design decisions about rehabilitation technology interventions, ranging in scope from scheduling to the content and nature of direct interactions between therapists and the consumer Transformation of flow can be defined as a person’s ability to draw upon an optimal experience and use it to marshal new and unexpected psychological resources and sources of involvement. According to Riva this process involves three main steps. First, it is necessary to identify an information-rich environment that contains functional real-world demands; second, using the technology to enhance the level of presence of the subject in the environment and to induce an optimal experience; third, allowing cultivation, by linking this optimal experience to the actual experience of the subject.
  • By optimizing the conditions of flow in Virtual Reality, rehabilitation programmers may promote actual flow experiences in patients and enhance their rehabilitation experience The concept of transformation of flow holds significant promise for clinical applications of VR. For example, Reid developed an integrated model of presence, playfulness and flow in rehabilitation. The model hypothesizes that flow and playfulness (expressed as being able to feel presence with the activity) are strictly related to volition and self-efficacy, and that VR has the potential to provide disabled persons with greater control over events in their environment, thereby enhancing a sense of competence and satisfaction with life. At the same time, virtual environments can be designed to offer highly motivating and challenging situations, facilitating active engagement of individuals with disabilities in the occupation of play. In one study, Harris and Reid investigated the degree of motivation of children with cerebral palsy during VR play session. Results showed that different virtual environments were associated with varying degree of volition, and that the key features of the most motivating playing scenarios included challenge, variability and competition.
  • Weiss and coll. (2003) have investigated how VR can provide disabled persons with positive experiences during physical interactions with different game-like virtual environments. Study participants (five young male adults with cerebral palsy and severe intellectual disabilities) played within three game-like virtual scenarios and their performance was recorded. Findings of this pilot experiment showed that participants experienced high levels of presence and engagement, and that most of their responses to the stimuli presented were appropriate . The influence of virtual reality play on children’s motivation Virtual reality provides leisure time opportunities for young adults with physical and intellectual disabilities
  • Positive Technologies

    1. 1. POSITIVE TECHNOLOGY V0.2 Andrea Gaggioli, Ph.D www.positivetechnology.info
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Living in digital ecosystem </li></ul><ul><li>Why Positive Technology? </li></ul><ul><li>Challenges and opportunities </li></ul>
    3. 3. #1 LIVING IN DIGITAL ECOSYSTEMS
    4. 4. Eras of Computing One computer for many users One computer for each user Many computers for each user Thousands computers for each user 1960: Mainframe Era 1980: Personal Computer Era 2000: Mobility Era 2020+: Ubiquity Era Source: Abigail Sellen, Yvonne Rogers, Richard Harper, Tom Rodden: Reflecting human values in the digital age . Commun. ACM 52(3): 58-66 (2009)
    5. 5. responsive disappearing ubiquitous intelligent Digital Ecosystems
    6. 6. DISAPPEARING
    7. 7. RESPONSIVE
    8. 8. INTELLIGENT
    9. 9. UBIQUITOUS
    10. 10. VIRTUAL REALITY
    11. 11. AUGMENTED REALITY
    12. 12. WEARABLE DISPLAYS
    13. 13. SMART CLOTHING
    14. 14. SMART JEWERLY
    15. 15. LIFE LOGGING
    16. 16. HOME ROBOTICS
    17. 17. SOCIAL COMPUTING
    18. 18. INTERNET OF THINGS
    19. 19. does technology make us happy?
    20. 20. LA TECNOLOGIA POSITIVA
    21. 21. TECHNODEPENDENCY
    22. 22. TECNODIPENDENZA IPERCONNECTIVITY
    23. 23. TECNODIPENDENZA TECHNOSTRESS
    24. 24. TECNODIPENDENZA SUSTAINABILITY
    25. 25. TECNODIPENDENZA ETHICS
    26. 26. TECNODIPENDENZA SECURITY & PRIVACY
    27. 27. #2 WHY POSITIVE TECHNOLOGY?
    28. 28. How can technology contribute to wellbeing? <ul><li>Technology as a tool that can release us from burden and extend our capabilities (Human-Computer Interaction) </li></ul><ul><li>Technology as a medium to happiness (Positive Technology) </li></ul>Our goal: to design technologies that promote wellbeing and empowerment at individual, group, and social levels
    29. 29. Positive Psychology: the “Science of Wellbeing”
    30. 30. The goal of Positive Psychology The goal of Psychology <ul><li>Understanding what makes people: </li></ul><ul><li>Happy </li></ul><ul><li>Enjoy life </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul><ul><li>Satisfied and fulfilled </li></ul><ul><li>Emotionally stable </li></ul><ul><li>Mentally healthy </li></ul><ul><li>Functional </li></ul><ul><li>Able to cope </li></ul><ul><li>Successful </li></ul><ul><li>Strong </li></ul><ul><li>Understanding what makes people: </li></ul><ul><li>Suffer </li></ul><ul><li>Stressed </li></ul><ul><li>Anxious </li></ul><ul><li>Depressed </li></ul><ul><li>Unhappy </li></ul><ul><li>Angry </li></ul><ul><li>Aggressive </li></ul><ul><li>Violent </li></ul><ul><li>Strange </li></ul><ul><li>Mentally ill </li></ul>
    31. 32. “ I think with technology , entertainment and design, we can actually increase the amount of tonnage of human happiness on the planet . And if technology can in the next decade or two increase the pleasant life , the good life and the meaningful life, it will be good enough” Martin Seligman Pioneer of Positive Psychology
    32. 33. HEDONISTIC EUDAIMONISTIC EPICURUS ARISTOTLE PERSPECTIVES ON WELLBEING Enjoy pleasures and avoid pain (the “pleasant life”) Realize personal potential (the “good life”)
    33. 34. (1) TECHNOLOGY AND THE “PLEASANT LIFE”
    34. 35. The PLEASANT LIFE: the role of positive emotions 1/2 <ul><li>Provide the organism with nonspecific action tendencies that can lead to adaptive behavior </li></ul><ul><li>Positive emotions broaden Thought-Action Repertoires (Fredrickson, 2001) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Joy > PLAY </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interest > EXPLORE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Contentment > SAVOR AND INTEGRATE </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Love > ALL OF THE ABOVE </li></ul></ul>
    35. 36. The PLEASANT LIFE: the role of positive emotions 2/2 <ul><li>Positive emotions build durable personal resources </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Physical resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Intellectual resources </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Psychological resources </li></ul></ul>
    36. 37. FROM ERGONOMICS TO HEDONOMICS Playfulness Emotional design Enchantment Aesthetics & pleasureness “ ..in the same realm of human-technology interaction, hedonomics is primarily concerned with the promotion of pleasure.” (Hancock et al., 2005)
    37. 38. CAN WE USE TECHNOLOGY TO INDUCE POSITIVE EMOTIONS? YES… A. Grassi, A. Gaggioli, G. Riva (2009)  The green valley: the use of mobile narratives for reducing stress in commuters. Cyberpsychol Behav 12: 2. 155-161 Rosa María Baños, Gemma García-Soriano, Cristina Botella, Elia Oliver, Ernestina Etchemendy, Juana María Bretón (2009) Positive mood induction and well-being, in Proceedings of IEEE HSI2009, Special Session on Positive Technology Riva G, Mantovani F, Capideville CS, Preziosa A, Morganti F, Villani D, Gaggioli A, Botella C, Alcañiz M. (2007) Affective interactions using virtual reality: the link between presence and emotions. Cyberpsychol Behav. Feb;10(1):45-56.
    38. 39. APPLICATIONS? <ul><li>Technology-based intervention strategies that foster positive emotions may be suited for preventing and treating problems rooted in negative emotions, such as aggression, anxiety , depression , and stress -related health problems </li></ul>
    39. 40. (2) TECHNOLOGY AND THE “GOOD LIFE”
    40. 41. “ I can get totally into the music and not get self-conscious about dancing. I know that when I first start or if there is some distraction, or I’m conscious of the way I’m dancing, I don’t dance as well as when I’m really totally into the music….it’s something that just comes out in my body, ’cause I don’t usually think about the steps I’m going to do consciously.” FLOW Quote from a dancer, M. Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, p. 105
    41. 42. .
    42. 43. Anxiety, Boredom and Flow (Csikszentmihalyi 1990 - Dots and text added: van Gorp 2006) Level of Physiological Arousal
    43. 44. Key characteristics of Flow Experience Positive emotions Total concentration on the task at hand Clear goals and clear feedback Autothelic experience (intrinsic motivation) High challenges matched by high skills Effortless action Reduced self-awareness
    44. 45. Can technologies provide Flow? Certain technologies become successful at least in part because they provide flow and thus motivate people to use them (Csikszentmihalyi et al. 2005)
    45. 46. Virtual activities associated with Flow <ul><li>Online exploratory behaviour (Ghani & Despande, 1994) </li></ul><ul><li>Online consumer behaviour (Hoffman & Novak, 1996) </li></ul><ul><li>Online learning (Chan & Ahem, 1999) </li></ul><ul><li>Online gaming (Chen, 2007) </li></ul><ul><li>Hacking behaviour (Luthiger & Jungwirth, 2007) </li></ul>
    46. 47. Virtual Reality as a source of Flow (Gaggioli et al., 2004; 2005) <ul><li>Opportunities for action </li></ul><ul><li>Task complexity </li></ul><ul><li>Multimodal feedback </li></ul><ul><li>High control </li></ul>
    47. 48. Transformation of Flow Riva & Gaggioli, 2009
    48. 49. APPLICATIONS: Transformation of Flow in rehabilitation (1/3) <ul><li>The “Virtual Reality Play Intervention Program “(Miller & Reid, 2003) </li></ul><ul><li>19 participants aged 8-13 who had a diagnosis of cerebral palsy </li></ul><ul><li>Participants experienced a sense of control and mastery over the virtual environment and were provided a safe way to explore and challenge their abilities </li></ul><ul><li>Participants perceived experiencing flow and reported perceived physical changes and increased social acceptance from both peers and family </li></ul>
    49. 50. Transformation of Flow in rehabilitation (2/3) <ul><li>VR and emerging technologies have the potential to provide disabled persons with greater control over events in their environment, thereby enhancing a sense of competence and satisfaction with life </li></ul><ul><li>VIDEO </li></ul>
    50. 51. APPLICATIONS: Transformation of Flow in rehabilitation (3/3) “Rehabilitation Gaming System”
    51. 52. Gaming VR systems for rehabilitation: Nintendo Wii http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ofm-dyjOu1s
    52. 53. Future of Flow in Rehabilitation: Microsoft Natal
    53. 54. #3 OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES
    54. 55. The goal of PT: to design technologies that promote wellbeing and empowerment at individual, group, and social levels
    55. 57. EXPERIENCE ECONOMY Pine & Gilmore, 1999 TIME
    56. 58. ABSORPTION IMMERSION ACTIVE PARTICIPATION PASSIVE PARTICIPATION ENTERTAINMENT EDUCATIONAL ESCAPIST ESTHETIC EXPERIENCE ECONOMY - Pine & Gilmore, 1999
    57. 60. “ fostering power in people for use in their own lives, their communities and in their society” EMPOWERMENT
    58. 61. COGNITIVE EMPOWERMENT <ul><li>goal: to develop and enhance cognitive abilities </li></ul>
    59. 62. AFFECTIVE EMPOWERMENT <ul><li>goal: help individuals manage their emotions and reduce psychological stress </li></ul>
    60. 63. MOTIVATIONAL EMPOWERMENT <ul><li>goal: help people to choose healthy lifestyles and reduce addictive behaviours </li></ul>
    61. 64. PSYCHOSOCIAL EMPOWERMENT <ul><li>goal: help people to get involved with other people and with their communities </li></ul>
    62. 65. COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT <ul><li>goal: foster social and environmental change by promoting participatory approaches </li></ul>
    63. 66. SELF-IMPROVEMENT MARKET (US) Source: Marketdata
    64. 70. www.positivetechnology.info
    65. 71. AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER (WITH TECHNOLOGY)

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