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Lifelogging technologies as a powerful tool for enhancing psychotherapeutic interventions to address human memory weaknesses in depression


By Chengcheng Qu

AffecTech’s poster presentation from HCI 2018, Exploring Memory Interventions in Depression through Lifelogging Lens, examined and reported on neuropsychological findings in memory weakness in depression and the design space for novel technologies in this area.

AffecTech was happy to attend and present a work in progress paper [1] at HCI 2018, the 32nd British Human-Computer Interaction Conference, from AffecTech researcher Chengcheng Qu, and supervisor, Professor Corina Sas, both of Lancaster University, UK. The paper discussed the possibility of utilising lifelogging technologies as a powerful tool for enhancing psychotherapeutic interventions to address human memory weaknesses in depression, to help prevent and alleviate depression, as well as boosting mindfulness.

Highlights from HCI 2018
The role of HCI in delivering digital health technologies that are usable, useful and used

HCI 2018 took place from July 2nd to July 6th, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the main conference of HCI presenting several sessions alongside several keynotes. Themes of sessions included Affective Computing, Digital Health, Design, and Psychology, as well as UX (User Experience) and usability, while keynote topics included Data intelligence, HCI (Human Computer Interaction) design in health technologies and smart devices such as chatbots.

Professor Ann Blandford’s keynote “Designing for SPECIal people: the role of HCI in delivering digital health technologies that are usable, useful and used” shared her insights while understanding SPECIal people in her research. She pointed out the importance of understanding SPECIal (Social, Physical, Emotional, Cognitive Individual) people, and their SPECIal situations. Especially while using health technologies, as pointed out by Professor Blandford, there are so many factors that will influence or even shape whether or how people would use these healthcare technologies. She highlighted her focus on the development phase of the MRC (Medical Research Council) cycle as:

  • Identifying the evidence base. For example, think about: What is the problem that needs to be addressed? What’s the evidence of the nature of these problems? What’s known about possible solutions?
  • Identifying or developing theory. In this step, things to highlight include: What is the relevant theory, or theories, for example, theories in behavioral change, decision making, or human errors?
  • Modeling process and outcomes. In this step, apply modeling approaches to anticipate outcomes and refine the design.

Professor Blandford has also pointed out that, currently, there are too many technologies designed without full consideration of real needs of users, even when they are considered, normally their requirements are assumed by designers, which is not enough. Therefore, “HCI and Human Factors have a really important space and role in the design of future health technologies,” as our unique skills set are essential for designing health technologies.

Apart from attracting academics, HCI 2018 also attracted researchers, engineers, and designers to talk about their inspirations working in the industry. Speeches by leading companies such as Google, Spotify, IBM Ireland, BBC and so on. For example, Senior UX researcher, Stephen Giff, from Google, has shared his insight in his speech ”Evolving the UX Research discipline and remaining relevant in a rapidly changing world”. While Spotify presented a discussion of “The role of user research in a world of big data,” given by Philip Strain, as Senior User Researcher, Spotify.

Chengcheng Qu

Chengcheng Qu is an Early Stage Researcher of the AffecTech project based at Lancaster University. Her research aims to explore the organisation and processing of episodic memories in depression and anxiety. Chengcheng is particularly interested in designing novel systems for supporting users’ meaningful and long-lasting recall of their autobiographical memories, for alleviating affective disorders, building a better cognitive self and boosting mental wellbeing.


[1] Chengcheng Qu, Corina Sas. 2018. Exploring Memory Interventions in Depression through Lifelogging Lens. In Proceedings of the 32nd British Computer Society Human Computer Interaction Conference -HCI ’18

About AffecTech

AffecTech is an international collaborative network and research project that advances personal health technologies for affective disorders – depression, anxiety and bipolar. AffecTech aims to deliver an effective low cost technology platform to help sufferers.

AffecTech is established with support from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) via the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 (H2020) research and innovation programme. AffecTech is a European Innovative Training Network funded under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 722022.