Learning healthy habits with a mobile self-intervention

Janne Vainio (Corresponding author), Ilkka Korhonen, Kirsikka Kaipainen, Outi Kenttä, Joona Järvinen

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

3 Citations (Scopus)


Health interventions aim to influence behavior by creating healthy habits that substitute existing unhealthy ones. Habits are often deeply ingrained but also easily disrupted in new situations. This makes the changing of habits a life-long learning and adaptation process rather than a one-time task with limited duration. Therefore, modern understanding of learning may be applied in designing effective and sustainable health interventions. We have designed the "Mindless Change" mobile intervention based on a framework of modern learning theories. The self-intervention guides the user in a habit formation through small daily changes, supported by a user selectable simple cartoon type of avatar with varied dialogue. We conducted a four-week pilot study with 66 participants to assess the feasibility of our intervention and especially the contribution of the avatar. Users found the selfintervention intuitive and easy to use but the attrition remained a challenge in this open pilot where participants were not provided any external motivation, support or incentives to start and continue using the service. The results suggest that even a simple non-anthropomorphic support avatar can be beneficial for the health intervention, which encourages us to investigate the concept further.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare
EditorsSusanne Boll, Friedrich Köhler
PublisherEuropean Alliance for Innovation EAI
ISBN (Print)978-1-6319-0011-2
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, PervasiveHealth 2014 - Oldenburg, Germany
Duration: 20 May 201423 May 2014


Conference8th International Conference on Pervasive Computing Technologies for Healthcare, PervasiveHealth 2014
Abbreviated titlePervasiveHealth 2014


  • mobile intervention design
  • learning theories
  • dialogue support
  • pilot test
  • habit change
  • behavior change


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