Positive Computing
Technology for Wellbeing and Human Potential
by Rafael A. Calvo and Dorian Peters

To be released November 2014
by The MIT Press (view book page at MIT Press)
Please notify me when it's released

"We believe we're seeing the beginning of an important shift in the focus of modern technologies, in which multidisciplinary efforts to support psychological wellbeing are helping to shape thinking around how we design for digital experience.

In the same way that economists are measuring wellbeing at the national level, and psychologists have been measuring it at an individual level for decades, it’s time to consciously and systematically consider wellbeing measures in the design and evaluation of technology. We refer to this area of work—the design and development of technology to support psychological wellbeing and human potential—as positive computing."

 Book Description

Positive Computing brings together research and methods from fields as diverse as psychology, economics, education, neuroscience and human-computer interaction in order to provide an initial foundation, theoretical framework, and evaluation methods for an emerging field. It looks not only at technologies custom-built to foster psychological wellbeing, but also at the potential for wellbeing research to enhance the experience of all technology.

In the second half of the book, the authors zoom in on several determinant factors of wellbeing including: positive emotions, self-awareness, motivation, engagement, mindfulness, empathy, compassion and altruism, and include supporting literature, strategies that exist for fostering these factors, how technology has already been used to support their development, and possibilities for future work.

One of the goals of this book is to make a convincing case that considering wellbeing in the design of technology is not only entirely achievable but also valuable, if not imperative, to building a digital environment that can make a happier and healthier (not just more productive) world.


The book includes sidebars on special topics by:
  • Jeremy Bailenson, Stanford University 
  • Timothy Bickmore, Northeastern University
  • danah boyd, Harvard and Microsoft 
  • Jane Burns, Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre 
  • David Caruso, Yale University and the EI Skills Group 
  • Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Claremont Graduate University 
  • Felicia Huppert, University of Cambridge
  • Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, University of Southern California 
  • Adele Krusche and Mark Williams, University of Oxford
  • Jane McGonigal, Institute for the Future 
  • Jonathan Nicholas, Inspire Foundation 
  • Don Norman, Nielsen Norman Group
  • Yvonne Rogers, University College London

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