Topics in Interactive Computing (CS 666)

Foodie: The use of explicit and implicit cognitive intervention to combat maladaptive eating habits in children in Pakistan: In this project we present a novel culturally appropriate fully functional mobile game, Foodie, that aims to tackle maladaptive eating habits within children. Using the tenets of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), we provided the users with a system that is both effective and engaging. The primary function of our project was to gauge the differences within the engagement that exist between the explicit and implicit models of intervention that CBT posits and the design elements that may contribute to positively and negatively to engagement. For this purpose, we conducted two studies. In the first, we explored the different ways an application can be tailored to the Pakistani context and the food choices and the scenarios that are common illustrations of such unhealthy eating habits while in the second we aimed to test the prototype for Engagement. We found no statistical evidence to support the hypothesis of one being more engaging then the other. However, our research outlines through observational data the different pitfalls and high-points that designers may be able to avoid and achieve in order to make an application such as this more effective and engaging.

Design for Emotional Intelligence Education among Pakistani Children: Emotional intelligence education in Pakistan is currently negligible at best. This project contributes to the research in developing digital curriculum to educate children regarding their emotional needs, and develop skills in self-regulation and social awareness. The study’s main contributions are identifying issues in emotional development faced by Pakistani children, designing culturally relevant content for said children, testing two cognitive elements of emotional education (feedback and facial realism), and identifying a discrepancy in the components of emotional intelligence between two defined social classes. The study is a step forward in understanding how we can improve and design for emotional intelligence in children of a developing country such as Pakistan.

Emotion Tracking to Promote Behavior Change in University Students: Self-monitoring applications are a type of persuasive technology that help assist a user in changing their behavior. In this paper, we present two different designs of a behavior tracking system one of which employs the emotion-asfeedback mechanism. Using a user study involving 41 university students, we devised a set of design guidelines and made prototypes based on them. Afterwards, we tried to gauge the efficacy of design informed by emotion-asfeedback mechanism by a between subject evaluative study. We tried to address the issues of low numeracy skills, poor data logging, and lack of engagement with self-monitoring and evaluated how successful we were. Our results show that retrospective and conscious reflection on past behavior aided by emotions can improve self-reflection in behavior change technologies.

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