Research

The persuasive and empowering effect of computer technologies has been recently highlighted and exploited by building products that modify people’s awareness and behaviour over a wide range of social issues, including environmental ones. However, these products often consist of secluded systems, with which the user has to interact. Because of its focus on ubiquitous technologies, BeAware offers an unprecedented opportunity to advance our understanding of the basic social process of persuasion.

Ubiquitous technologies do not force the user to arrange his/her space around them, but accompany his/her ordinary activities; therefore, they may become a very powerful tool to impact on everyday habits. BeAware will allow engendering and observing the change in people’s everyday habits. Coupled with this opportunity is the conceptual challenge of modelling the processes underlying persuasion in ordinary life, and identifying the role that technology may have in this process.

Most approaches to assess and understand persuasion focus on attitudes as abstract cognitive elements and internal individual dispositions. BeAware will explore different methods to study the users’ position with respect to energy conservation, using recent conceptualizations, and paying particular emphasis on the interdependencies that orient this behavior: the situational constraints, the user activity in which a certain behavior emerges, and the repertoire of arguments justifying it.