Don't kick the habit: The role of dependency in habit formation apps

Ian Renfree, Daniel Harrison, Paul Marshall, Katarzyna Stawarz, Anna Cox

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

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Habit formation apps are intended to help instigate and maintain new behaviors. Prior research has established that these apps mostly do not support the theoretical 'habit' construct defined in psychology, yet are generally popular and well reviewed in app stores. This apparent mismatch between theory and 'in-the-wild' usage has not been investigated to date. Through an in-depth qualitative study of a popular application Lift, this research establishes that common techniques such as reminders and streaks are effective at supporting repetition of new behaviors, but at the same time create a dependency: on-going app use is often required to achieve lasting change. This dependency introduces fragility in users' attempts to change their behavior, as they often abandon the app and subsequently disengage with their new behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI EA 2016
Subtitle of host publication#chi4good - Extended Abstracts, 34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Pages2932-2939
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450340823
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2016 - San Jose, United States
Duration: 7 May 201612 May 2016

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings
Volume07-12-May-2016

Conference

Conference34th Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI EA 2016
CountryUnited States
CitySan Jose
Period7/05/1612/05/16

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