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This course deals with persuasion through technology in the broadest sense of the word. It discusses how behaviour can be influenced or changed through interactive technologies (e.g. virtual reality apps, digital games, mobile apps, robots and chatbots…). The course starts with basic theories on persuasion and behavioural change (e.g. social influence, heuristics, nudging, behavioral economics,…) and frames these theories within technology mediated environments. The course further looks at theories dealing with technology acceptance and adoption and the practice of evidence-based technology design. Special emphasis is put on the contextual factors and the processes through which technology can (or not) persuade people and become a habit. Ethical aspects of persuasion are discussed.

In a practical assignment related to this course communication science students collaborate with computer science students from Distributed Computing (Prof. Steven Latré) to propose and program a smart application in which insights from persuasive technologies are included in the design.