I am calm: Towards a psychoneurological evaluation of ABC ringtones

J.N.A. Brown, J. Goes Oliveira, S. Bakker

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Anthropology-Based Computing (ABC) suggests that sociocultural,
neurological, and physiological parameters of normal human
interaction with the world can be applied to current technology in order to
improve Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) [1]. To challenge this theory,
we hypothesized smartphone ringtones that could be targeted to specific
people in a manner that would inform them without disturbing their work
or the work of others. In this paper we report the quantitative data from the
first formal trials of these ‘ABC ringtones’. Beta Wave activity patterns
were recorded in the brains of 10 participants exposed to 5 different
ringtones at three different volumes while they were focused on
performing a typing test in a noisy environment. Our preliminary findings
seem to show that the ABC ringtones - at a volume too low to be
consciously heard - triggered a response in the pre-attentive part of the
brain, and that the embedded information was transferred to the attentive
part of the brain by an internal mechanism that did not disrupt the work
being done in the typing task. We propose that these results provide
preliminary evidence for the ABC model of HCI and its explanation of the
centering mechanism that is requisite if Peripheral Interaction [2] is to be
applied in changing Ubiquitous Computing [3, 4, 5, 6] into Calm
Technology [7].
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-69
JournalInteraction Design and Architecture(s)
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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