Personal informatics, self-insight and behavior change: a critical review of current literature

E.T. van Dijk, J.H.D.M. Westerink, F. Beute, W.A. IJsselsteijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

79 Citations (Scopus)
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Personal Informatics (PI) systems allow users to collect and review personally relevant information. The purpose commonly envisioned for these systems is that they provide users with actionable, data-driven self-insight to help them change their behavioral patterns for the better. Here, we review relevant theory as well as empirical evidence for this ‘Self-Improvement Hypothesis’. From a corpus of 6568 only 24 studies met the selection criteria of being a peer-reviewed empirical study reporting on actionable, data-driven insights from PI data, using a ‘clean’ PI system with no other intervention techniques (e.g. additional coaching) on a non-clinical population. First results are promising—many of the selected articles report users gaining actionable insights—but we do note a number of methodological issues that make these results difficult to interpret. We conclude that more work is needed to investigate the Self-Improvement Hypothesis and provide a set of recommendations for future work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-296
Number of pages29
JournalHuman-Computer Interaction
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2 Nov 2017


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