Information Systems - Theses

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    Strategies to manage the influences from persuasive technologies: the case of self-monitoring and social comparison
    ROSAS, PEDRO ( 2014)
    Persuasive technologies are systems designed to support and motivate people to adopt, maintain or change their behaviours. Persuasive systems deliver influences to the user containing information that aims to: 1) trigger the user’s emotions, 2) convince the user with information, and/or 3) raise the user’s awareness of the importance of changing a behaviour. Though it is generally expected that the influences delivered by a persuasive technology will trigger motivation; the theory of cognitive appraisal and coping with stress, proposed by Lazarus and Folkman (1984) shows that when people are exposed to influences they can also experience undesired pressure. When individuals experience such undesired pressure they will often implement personal strategies that are attempts to avoid, control, tolerate and/or accept the influence, and the effects that the influence can cause. Whilst the persuasive technology literature reports on how users of persuasive systems interpret an influence as either motivating or adverse, there is a lack of understanding in the current literature on how users can employ strategies to manage the influences from persuasive systems. The aim of this thesis is to explore the strategies that users employ when interacting with a persuasive technology. The present research uses the case of sports technologies that combine the persuasive design principles (PDPs) of self-monitoring and social comparison. Using the aforementioned case allows this research to better understand the use of strategies when persuasive systems deliver influences in two different conditions. The first condition being when a system delivers the influences from self-monitoring and social comparison in different times and contexts, and the second condition being when a single technological platform simultaneously delivers the influences from self-monitoring and social comparison. Through two qualitative studies this research discovered the use of 12 strategies that aimed to 1) manage the influences delivered by the persuasive systems and, 2) manage the effects caused by the influences. The strategies that were used to manage the influences were aimed at preventing the user from experiencing the side effects that the influence could cause. The strategies that were used to manage the effects caused by the influences aimed at alleviating the unpleasant feelings and effects caused by the influences. The findings of the present research have contributed to a better understanding of how users employed strategies to manage the influences from persuasive systems and, the effects that the influences can generate. Furthermore, this thesis explains the use of strategies as a form of appropriating the persuasive system, where users had to perform additional tasks to avoid adverse effects from the influences. The findings extend current knowledge of the design of persuasive technologies by using strategies as a design tool to identify flaws in the persuasive design. Finally this research highlights the importance of tailoring the persuasive system to both the user and the specific physical activity to be performed.
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    Shadowboard: an agent architecture for enacting a sophisticated digital self
    Goschnick, Steven Brady ( 2001-09)
    In recent years many people have built Personal Assistant Agents, Information Agents and the like, and have simply added them to the operating system as auxiliary applications, without regard to architecture. This thesis argues that an agent architecture, one designed as a sophisticated representation of an individual user, should be embedded deep in the device system software, with at least equal status to the GUI – the graphical user interface. A sophisticated model of the user is then built, drawing upon contemporary Analytical Psychology – the Psychology of Subselves. The Shadowboard Agent architecture is then built upon that user model, drawing both structural and computational implications from the underlying psychology. An XML DTD file named Shadowboard.dtd is declared as a practical manifestation of the semantics of Shadowboard. An implementation of the Shadowboard system is mapped out, via a planned conversion of two existing integrated systems: SlimWinX, an event-driven GUI system; and XSpaces, an object-oriented tuplespace system with Blackboard-like features. The decision making mechanism passes logic terms and contraints between the various sub-agent components (some of which take on the role of Constraint Solvers), giving this agent system some characteristics of a Generalised Constraint Solver. A Shadowboard agent (built using the system) consists of a central controlling autonomous agent named the Aware Ego Agent, and any number of sub-agents, which collectively form an integrated but singular whole agent modelled on the user called the Digital Self. One such whole-agent is defined in a file named DigitalSelf.xml – which conforms to the schema in Shadowboard.dtd - which offers a comprehensive and generic representation of a user’s stance in a 24x7 network, in particular - the Internet. Numerous types of Shadowboard sub-agents are declared.