The UBhave Framework: Dynamic Pervasive Applications for Behavioural Psychology

Authors: Hargood, C., Pejovic, V., Morrison, L., Michaelides, D., Musolesi, M., Yardley, L. and Weal, M.

Conference: Mobiquitous 2014


Behavioural change interventions (BCIs) are used in behavioural psychology to elicit a desired behavioural change in a participant. These behavioural changes might be aimed at addressing a pupils behaviour in a classroom setting, or perhaps helping someone cope with the loss of a loved on. Many are used in the area of health promotion, such as smoking cessation, diabetes management, or weight loss.

The interventions themselves usually contain a recognisable common set of features. These include collecting relevant information from the participant, setting goals and activity plans for the user, providing feedback and self-reflection, and the structuring of regular sessions designed to affect the change. Online interventions, termed digital behaviour change interventions (dBCIs) exhibit clear benefits, which have been articulated in [1], and include the comparatively low amount of research time and resources required, and the fact that they can be tailored and adapted more easily to fit the participants context and responses [2].

Smartphones have increasingly become the means by which people access the web and interact with digital content, this presents new opportunities and challenges for dBCIs. For example a weight loss intervention that may demonstrate success in a face to face environment, or through online materials at a desktop computer, might be even more effective if it could be delivered to an individual at vulnerable moments such as when the user is at a restaurant or shopping for food. In this work we present the UBhave Framework, a generic platform for creating and presenting mobile dBCIs.

Our framework allows intervention authors to create a broad range of mobile dBCIs with custom content, tailoring, and functionality. These dBCIs are hosted on a central server and delivered to participants using an Android client which interprets the authors designs into a fully functioning Android application that records relevant data that is stored centrally for later export and analysis.

Source: Manual