Computing and mental health: intentionality and reflection at the click of a button

Maria Angela Ferrario, Will Simm, Adrian Gradinar, Stephen Forshaw, Marcia Tavares Smith, Thomas Lee, Ian Smith, Jon Whittle

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearch

10 Citations (Scopus)


Automated passive sensing applications and self-reported smart diaries seem to hold promise for the management of anxiety in autism and other mental health conditions. However, passive sensing often struggles with noisy data, ambiguous feedback and weak user agency over the device, whilst self-reporting relies on user-entered data which can be time consuming and cognitively demanding. To address these limitations, we explore a different approach, whereby individuals consciously actuate personal data capture and are in control of it at all times; yet, the interaction solely involves clicking a button, thus avoiding cognitive overload whilst supporting immediate reflection. We call this approach intentive computing. Through our initial investigations we found that conscious interactions cannot only provide real-Time relief in anxiety management, but can also function as memory anchors irrespective of the content captured and even prior to data visualization.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPervasiveHealth '17 - Proceedings of the 11th EAI International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare
Subtitle of host publicationBarcelona, Spain — May 23 - 26, 2017
EditorsMirco Musolesi, Gillian Hayes, Andrea Grimes Parker
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450363631
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes
EventInternational Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare 2017 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 23 May 201726 May 2017
Conference number: 11th (Proceedings)


ConferenceInternational Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare 2017
Abbreviated titlePervasiveHealth 2017
Internet address


  • Anxiety
  • Autism
  • Human Agency
  • Human Data Interaction
  • Mental Health
  • Participatory Design
  • Reflective Design

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