Mauro Cherubini, who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Lausanne, will give a guest talk to the lab this week.
People do not exercise as much and as regularly as they should. To support users in adopting healthy exercise routines, app designers integrate behaviour-change techniques in their apps. In this talk, we focus on two of these techniques: tangible rewards and motivational messages. Past research has demonstrated the effects of these techniques in moving recipients to increase their physical activity levels. However, the effect of these interventions on the intrinsic motivation of the participants has not yet been studied. We conducted a ten-month study involving 208 participants: this research consisted of a three-month baseline (pre-phase), a four-month experiment and a three-month follow-up (post-phase). The participants were randomly assigned to one of three interventions: either they receive money or informative messages. Their daily goal was to walk 10K steps. Through their smart phones, we recorded how many steps they walked every day. These interventions had no effect on the main outcome variable (i.e., the number of steps). However, the manipulations produced a detrimental effect on the intrinsic motivation of the participants. In the talk, we will discuss the importance of intrinsic motivation in setting up healthy exercise routines that will be carried on autonomously by the participants after the period of the intervention. Finally, we present implications for the design of persuasive apps.
Mauro Cherubini is an Assistant Professor at HEC, University of Lausanne. Prior to joining HEC in 2016, I spent eight years in the industry, with Google and Telefonica Research. He received his PhD in Computer Science from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland in June 2008. At EPFL, he conducted research on collaborative annotations of maps and remote gesturing.
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