How Does Self-Tracking Go? A Research Model and Pre-Test

Baumgart, Ruth
Holten, Roland
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Physical inactivity has become a serious problem in modern societies leading to a multitude of diseases. Insurer try to counteract this problem by supporting the use of self-tracking applications. While the effectiveness of self-tracking applications is widely assumed, scant studies investigate the influence of self-tracking applications and those few studies show different results. We propose a research model and measurements based on the cognitive dissonance theory to explain how and why self-tracking influences behavior. This understanding is of critical importance for the design of effective self-tracking applications. Specifically, we propose that the usage of step-counter apps leads to a higher awareness of two inconsistent cognitions, which induce cognitive dissonance. Because people strive for consistency, they try to reduce the dissonance through either ignoring the situation, finding new information or behavior change. We tested our measurements with an item-sort-task and found high substantive validity as an indicator for good construct validity.
Personal Health Management and Technologies, cognitive dissonance theory, pre-test, Quantified Self, self-tracking
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