Positive technology–A powerful partnership between positive psychology and interactive technology. A discussion of potential and challenges.

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Sarah Diefenbach


Under the umbrella term "positive computing" concepts of positive psychology are transferred to the domain of human-computer interaction (HCI). In an interdisciplinary community psychologist, computer scientists, designers and others are exploring promising ways how to utilize interactive technology to support wellbeing and human flourishing. Along with this, the recent popularity of smartphone apps aiming at the improvement of health behavior, mindfulness and positive routines, suggests the general acceptance of technology as a facilitator of personal development. Given this, there generally seems a high potential for a technology mediated trigger of positive behavior change, especially in context of positive psychology and resource oriented approaches such as solution-focused coaching. At the same time, there is still a lack of well-founded approaches to design such technology which consider its responsible role as an "interactive coach" and systematically integrate the needed expertise of different disciplines. The present article discusses the general potential and particular challenges to support the goals of positive psychology and human desire for self-improvement through interactive technology and highlights critical steps for a successful partnership between both.

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