Behaviour Change

Richard Harper

University of Lancaster, UK

Originally trained as a sociologist but now a computer scientist, I am concerned with how new technologies shape us and how we in turn shape our technologies. I have written 13 books, including the IEEE award winning "The Myth of the Paperless Office"; “Texture”, (the A.o.I.R. book of the year 2011); and “Choice” (2016). The latter examines everyday choice-making activities and considers these in light of scientific theories about the mechanics of the ‘mind’. I have also published over 160 scientific articles covering a wide range of topics, from the social impact and design of mobile phones, to the future of search engines, to the latest incarnation of artificial intelligence. I am currently the Co-Director of the Institute for Social Futures and a Professor of Computer Science and Communication at the University of Lancaster. Previously, I have led research groups at Xerox (Euro) Parc and Microsoft, and was the director and founder of The Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey.

Course Description

There are many ways of approaching behavioural change: one is through co-opting everyone involved around some shared view; this is what ‘participative design’ comes down to, for example. Another is through ‘cultural change’, and this too can be achieved in many ways - through training, say, or through ‘nudges’ and other enticements. There is no one way of understanding, achieving or measuring the success of behavioural change. In this course I will look at the topic with regard to how change is an already existing natural feature of behaviour and how through being sensitive to this, one can achieve change that can be almost seamless. This is not the only way change can be achieved, but sensitivity to this view is a good basis for understanding other views. Participative design would be better achieved if the dynamics of change in some setting were understood beforehand, for example.

Date

February 8th, 2019