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How Can Digital Technologies Promote Behavioural Change?

Phone and smart watch

To sustain behavioural change is challenging. We have all experienced the frustration of setting a New Year’s resolution to lose weight, exercise more or quit smoking, only to give it up within less than a month. Nonetheless, behavioural change can benefit us in many aspects of our lives, including self-management of various chronic conditions, adherence to preventive behaviours like physical distancing and wearing a mask during disease outbreaks, and coping with stress at home or in the workplace.

Habit formation contributes a great deal to behavioural change. Digital technologies, which are transforming every facet of our lives, including how we travel, communicate and learn, can also be used to help break old habits and form new ones. It’s just not clear how. Thus, it is essential to understand first how these digital technologies can contribute to habit formation; only then can efficient behavioural change support systems be designed to enable sustained change.

What is this research about?

Professor Pavel Andreev received a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Insight Development Grant to study how behavioural change support systems can facilitate sustained change through habit formation and to develop habit formation support system design principles.

Project Title: Towards Sustainable Behavior Change: Developing and Validating a Theory Explaining How Habits Can Be Formed Using Digital Technologies 

Who will benefit from this research?

This work will help provide a theoretical understanding of how habits can be formed with the support of digital technologies and how this can lead to sustained behavioural change. From a practical standpoint, it can help guide the design of systems that support habit formation to promote behavioural change.  The research findings will have implications for all industries, including health care, education and others where new policies or practices and behavioural change are needed. But it also can have implications for individuals who must change their behaviour for long-term self-management and overall well-being.

About the Author

Rania Nasrallah a rejoint le bureau de recherche Telfer en 2019. Elle a obtenu son doctorat en médecine à l'Université d'Ottawa et apporte à ce rôle plus de deux décennies d'expérience en recherche. Rania participe à tous les aspects du mandat du Bureau de la recherche et est responsable de fournir un large éventail de services aux membres du corps professoral et aux étudiants de recherche de deuxième et troisième cycle. Elle gère les subventions internes et les bourses d'études, et participe à la stratégie de communication de la recherche. Elle fournit également un soutien aux chercheurs avant l'attribution des subventions afin de maximiser le succès du financement au niveau national et international. En outre, elle travaille en étroite collaboration avec le Vice-doyen à la recherche pour élaborer et mettre en œuvre des stratégies visant à améliorer le financement et la vélocité de la recherche à Telfer, conformément à notre vision pour créer un meilleur Canada et un meilleur monde pour tous.<br/><br/>Rania Nasrallah joined the Telfer Research Office in 2019. She completed her PhD in Medicine at the University of Ottawa and brings over two decades of research experience to this role. Rania is involved in all aspects of the mandate of the Research Office and is responsible for providing a wide range of services to faculty members and research based graduate students. She manages internal grants, student awards, and participates in the research communication strategy. She also provides pre-award support to researchers to optimize funding success nationally and internationally. In addition she works closely with the Vice Dean Research to develop and implement strategies to enhance research funding and intensity at Telfer following our vision to create a better Canada and a better world for all.

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