Big Society Computing - the potential of using interactive systems to change behaviour

Photograph of Shaun Lawson

Shaun Lawson

(University of Lincoln)

This talk describes research being conducted at the Lincoln Social
Computing (LiSC) Research Centre which is exploring how it might be
possible to use interactive applications delivered via online social
networks, such as Facebook, to raise awareness and change behaviour.
Since using OSNs gives us hitherto unachievable insight in to what our
friends collectively think and do it is possible to use digital
platforms such as Facebook to deliver behaviour change interventions
based on social norms and peer pressure. Such an approach lies in the
emerging area of persuasive technology and further exploits ideas
recently popularized by Thaler and Sunstein in that individuals can be
'nudged' to make better health and lifestyle decisions given the right
information and the environment in which to do so. Research at LiSC has
so far concentrated on domestic energy usage and personal activity
monitoring though we are also currently working on food and waste
behaviour, energy usage in corporate settings and mental health issues.
The talk will give an overview of the approach taken in each of these
areas, the findings to to-date, and what the future might hold for such
a strand of 'big society' computing.

Dr Shaun Lawson is a Reader in the School of Computer Science at the
University of Lincoln and Director of the Lincoln Social Computing
(LiSC) Research Centre. His research is focussed on the understanding of
how, and why, people use and engage with social media, social games and
other online and mobile applications. A particular focus his work is
exploring how such social technologies can be used for serious purposes
as well as entertainment. For instance, online communities connected
through platforms such as Facebook have enormous untapped potential as
platforms to raise awareness and transform behaviour across many health,
sustainability and lifestyle issues in a today's digital society. See for details.
Tuesday 14th December 2010, 14:00
Robert Recorde Room
Department of Computer Science