Designing Technologies for Wellbeing

Our daily use of smartphones and social media can engender pleasurable moments, but can these technologies contribute to genuine happiness?

With this CAREER award, Jay Yoon, Human Centered Design, is developing new approaches to technology design to support the creation of smartphone apps, home appliances, and other everyday technologies that improve wellbeing over the long term. This research draws on recent insights from positive psychology, which emphasizes people’s capacity to improve their mental health by enhancing and savoring experiences of joy, contentment, fascination, and other positive emotions. This project will specifically address technology use among adolescents and young adults, who are less likely than older adults to practice behaviors that enhance positive emotions. This population is also more inclined to seek immediate gratification and less likely to take advantage of traditional health interventions such as mental health counseling.

This project pursues a detailed understanding of the relationship between technology design, user-technology interactions, positive emotion, and wellbeing. Researchers will analyze the role of everyday technology in reinforcing and prolonging positive emotions. They will then develop new technology that facilitates increased positive experiences and evaluate their effects on wellbeing. Finally, through a series of co-creative workshops and seminars, researchers will draw on the perspectives of design professionals to translate the resulting insights into practical design tools and methods.

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$497 Thousand spanning 5 years