Special Topics: Psychological Foundations for Designing for Impact in HCI

Course Number: 
05-499 / 05-899
Semester and Units: 
Spring 12 units
Course Description: 

This seminar-style course will explore a wide range of psychological theories, phenomena, and techniques that can (and should) inform the strategic design of technologies and HCI platforms that aim to change users’ cognitions, emotions, or behaviors - and illustrate how an understanding of these often surprising processes can be applied to improve interaction design and user experience.  In addition to exposing students to the leading theories of persuasion and behavior change, the course will cover a variety of themes and topics illustrating both pitfalls and possibilities in designing for impact in HCI, including: (1) the impact of cognitive, social, and self-related biases on judgments and behaviors; (2) the powerful automatic links between mind, body, and behavior; (3) the unique psychological phenomena at play in fiction and games; (4) the factors that facilitate and prohibit effective goal pursuit and habit formation; (5) the consequences of anonymity for identity and online behavior; and (6) the effects of unconscious associations and goals on intrapersonal and interpersonal judgments. Through an equal mix of lecture, discussion, and application, the course will introduce students to key theories and research in each of these domains, and investigate both current and potential applications of these principles in a wide array of HCI and computer-mediated communication contexts.  

Geoff Kaufman