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Understanding, measuring, and, invoking mindfulness and mindlessness during human-computer interactions

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Published
  • Kiel Long
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Publication date2018
Number of pages310
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Thesis sponsors
  • EPSRC
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This thesis questions how Mindfulness and Mindlessness might be understood, measured and invoked in relation to Human-Computer Interactions. Current designs of user interfaces often follow a design trend, drawing upon familiar layout and icons across a broad range of applications. Designers often try to make the interface easier to understand, familiar, and more intuitive. While the use of technologies that are familiar holds qualities such as low cognitive demand and ease of use; they hold within them an intrinsic problem. The familiarity and repetition in design qualities produces habitual response and reduces the facilities of reflection and contemplation upon the interaction. Subsequently this inhibits the discovery of novel solutions to challenges and / or formation of novel goals for the user of a technology.
The primary goal of this thesis is to provide (and justify) a definition of Mindfulness and Mindlessness that is suitable to be applied in the field of human- computer interaction; and clearly describe these experiential and behavioural phenomena of the user of interactive technology. These definitions draw upon related fields to better inform understanding through the application of their methods of evaluation and advancements in understanding. Resultantly an additional goal of this thesis is to pave way for future work in this area in providing insight to, and example of, methods for the measuring of Mindfulness and Mindlessness that are suited to the field of human-computer interaction and supported in the informing related work. Lastly, this thesis holds the goal of situating the work in related literature of how the states of Mindfulness and Mindlessness might be invoked and their effect upon human-computer interaction. More broadly, this thesis seeks to provide the framing of human-computer interaction and interface design through a lens of Mindfulness and Mindlessness as a means of better understanding and designing for the distinct qualities each holds.
These goals are achieved through three stages; first this body of work provides a pragmatic definition of Mindfulness and Mindlessness that can be applied to interactions with technologies. In doing so it overcomes the problematic qualities of directly applying previous definitions and facilitates further study of the phenomenon through empirical modalities founded in cognitive science. Second, this research provides the reporting of an exploratory study conducted, and findings for future works to build upon, in the analysis of Mindful and Mindless experiences during interactions with digital technologies. This is achieved through a neuro- phenomenological methodology, combining first person reporting alongside physiological measurement highlighting Mindful and Mindless interactions. Finally, this thesis provides insight to how the design of technologies can invoke Mindful and Mindless interactions and the consequences of these, followed by design considerations in the final conclusion.
Through this the thesis addresses the Understanding, Measuring, and, Invoking of Mindfulness and Mindlessness During Human-Computer Interactions.