Digital Economy USRG

Psychology leads multidisciplinary research project

March 25, 2011
by Graeme Earl

A project to use cutting edge mobile phone technology in behavioural change interventions is the subject of a £1.5 million grant from EPSRC, one of just four funded from 144 responses to the original call. Professor Lucy Yardley (Psychology) led the bid for “UBhave: ubiquitous and social computing for positive behaviour change”, which will build on the success of LifeGuide, an ESRC funded project that allows researchers to easily and flexibly create and modify internet-delivered interventions.

The new funding will develop systems to use mobile phone technology and knowledge of virtual communities to sense the location, activity levels, company and mood of participants to trigger real-time interventions to change their behaviour. For example, participants in the weight management pilot may be sent menu plans when the systems detect they are close to a ‘trigger point’ by identifying people they are with, the time of day, and their mood.

Lucy Yardley comments: “Our project will change the way you do behaviour change interventions. Historically, these have involved asking people what they have done and what they are planning to do, but we know that doesn’t work very well. We will be measuring what people really are doing. We are trying to be with them to intervene at the time they need us.”

The project is a joint bid with ECS, Cambridge and other Universities and will generate unprecedented quantities of data on participant behaviour. There is opportunity for involvement from across the faculty, with S3RI already being coinvestigators, and anyone interested in using digital support for behaviour change is encouraged to contact Lucy on

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Categories: Blog. Tags: MOBICOMP, projects, and UBICOMP.