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Assisting Mindfulness Practice To Promote Emotional Resilience

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thesis
posted on 14.07.2022, 17:03 authored by Yuchuan Shan

Emotion plays a key role in human experience by affecting how we perceive, memorize and make decisions. Therefore, being able to recognize and regulate our own emotions is an essential skill for psychological well-being. However, screen-based technologies are providing constant stimuli to attract our attention to the screens and away from ourselves. Among the most frequent users of screen-based technologies are young adults. As they grow occupied by and habituated to responding to external stimuli in autopilot mode, their cognitive capacity to attend to their own emotional experiences is negatively affected. The inability to recognize and cope with difficult emotions is associated with many prevalent mental health issues found in young adults including anxiety, depression, and eating disorders. To help address the problem, this project aimed to study how we might promote emotional resilience in young adults by assisting them in being mindful of emotions. Based on research on what having emotions means for both humans and computer systems as well as empirical research on mindfulness practices, this project proposed a design intervention that creates an ambient display from one’s emotional states using affective technology. By closing the biofeedback loop and providing suggestive feedback, the intervention helped to increase emotional awareness and facilitate self-regulation of stress. A prototype of the intervention was developed and tested with 5 participants. Results from the evaluative research showed that the intervention allowed the participants to be aware of the dynamic nature of emotions and evoked self-reflection on one’s experience. The feedback provided by the prototype also motivated the participants to engage in self-regulation of stress, although the effectiveness and impact of different feedback mechanisms need further study. Overall, this project contributed to the studies on how affective technologies can be used to enhance our people’s own affective abilities.

History

Date

11/05/2022

Degree Type

Master's Thesis

Department

Design

Degree Name

  • Master of Design (MDes)

Advisor(s)

Kyuha Shim Daragh Byrne

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