Questioning Our Attitudes and Feelings Towards Persuasive Technology

Robby van Delden, Roelof Anne Jelle de Vries, Dirk K.J. Heylen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)


    Definitions regarding Persuasive Technology are often introduced with the accompanying remark: without using coercion and deception. For this position paper, we investigated, evaluated, and discussed the term Persuasive Technology and its connotations. We investigated whether Persuasive Technology is perceived with negative connotations such as coercive and deceptive, and, how in comparison, similar labels (such as Behavior Change Support System and Digital Behavior Change Intervention) were perceived. We conducted an online survey where participants (N = 488) rated their attitude towards these systems in the context of a system description, indicated to what extent they agreed with 10 descriptors (such as, manipulative, motivating, or supportive) in the context of a system description, and whether this system in general, is at risk of being perceived as coercive, manipulative, deceptive, or propagandistic. We found that when considering risks of systems in general, labeling them as PT results in them being perceived significantly more forceful than all other labels, and switching the labeling of a system to Digital Behavior Change Intervention results in them being perceived significantly more captivating compared to a neutral system label. The findings suggest that when choosing labels to use for technology or systems it is essential to consider the impact labels can have on how the system or technology is perceived, regardless of the actual function of the system. These findings are relevant for the field of Persuasive Technology and the Persuasive Technology conference specifically. This paper is meant to spark further discussion in the field and at the conference.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationPersuasive Technology: Development of Persuasive and Behavior Change Support Systems
    Subtitle of host publication14th International Conference, PERSUASIVE 2019, Limassol, Cyprus, April 9–11, 2019, Proceedings
    EditorsEvangelos Karapanos, Eleni Kyza, Harri Oinas-Kukkonen, Pasi Karppinen, Khin Than Win
    Place of PublicationCham, Switzerland
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-17287-9
    ISBN (Print)978-3-030-17286-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2019
    Event14th International Conference on Persuasive Technology, PERSUASIVE 2019 - Atlantica Miramare Beach Hotel, Limassol, Cyprus
    Duration: 9 Apr 201911 Apr 2019
    Conference number: 14

    Publication series

    NameLecture Notes in Computer Science


    Conference14th International Conference on Persuasive Technology, PERSUASIVE 2019
    Abbreviated titlePERSUASIVE 2019
    Internet address


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