Incognito: Sensorial Interpretations of Covert Physiological Signals for Therapeutic Mediation
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CitationRichter-Lunn, Katarina. 2021. Incognito: Sensorial Interpretations of Covert Physiological Signals for Therapeutic Mediation. Master's thesis, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractAs our demand for technologies that mediate our environment continues to rise, our day-to-day activities have been increasingly overloaded with devices that collect our physiological signals. Our phones, watches, and jewelry now collect continuous personal data about us, from our location to our variable heart rate, and more features continue to appear in these technologies daily. And yet, despite the sensibility of these machines, little has been explored in decoding the highly informative signals collected by these devices to temper our physical environment. In particular, these signals have the potential to communicate one’s cognitive state and, in turn, address mental health. Embracing the open access to these technologies, this paper seeks to question how covert physiological signals can be turned into perceived sensorial experiences to increase awareness of one’s cognitive state and elicit positive affect through material interfaces. Acting not as a substitute for traditional therapies but as an alternative antidote, these sensorial interventions seek to process, analyze, and interpret physiological patterns, such as electrodermal activity and heart rate variability, to recognize signs of high and low emotional arousal and pair them with tactile, olfactory, auditory, and visual alterations in our surroundings. It is predicted that through the repeated association of the actuated stimuli with specific physiological states, a certain conditioning can be evoked to subsequently promote an instinctual response to malleable matter. The results illustrate that the fabric of our environment can not only be empathetic to our subconscious mood but also able to foster positive affect through psychophysiological adaptation.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37367871