The digital environment (e.g. the internet, mobile phones, smart homes) is now an integral part of our daily lives and is becoming an increasingly important means of sustaining the health and wellbeing of people worldwide. It is therefore important to understand how the design and use of such technologies persuades and influences us – our thoughts, attitudes, feelings and therefore our behaviour.
The Psychology and Communication Technology (PaCT) Lab is one of the few human computer interaction groups based within a psychology department in the UK. It explores the ways in which new communications media and technology affect our everyday choices and behaviours. PACT is particularly interested in users’ perceptions of trust, privacy and security and how perceptions influence intention to use certain technology.
We seek to answer questions such as:
What makes us trust a message or information online?
Why and when do we feel secure in disclosing information?
What types of privacy do we seek to protect?
How can we design technology to improve social inclusion and combat isolation?
How can technology improve the health and wellbeing of older people?
What are the barriers that may prevent different types of people from using technology in their everyday lives?
What do designers and product developers need to consider when developing technology for use by different types of people?
Examples of recently funded projects include a grant of £2 million from the National Institute of Health Research awarded to Professor Pam Briggs to examine Patient Online Experience in collaboration with Oxford University, and a recently awarded EPSRC grant to Dr. Linda Little to investigate teenagers’ attitudes towards energy saving (£1.5 million) in collaboration with university partners across the country.