JP Vargheese joins CSI

My name is John Paul Vargheese (JP). I recently joined Edinburgh Napier as a lecturer in the School of Computing and have become a member of the social informatics research group. I am looking forward to working with colleagues and students at Edinburgh Napier and continuing my research on persuasive technologies and behaviour change interventions. Further information on my research is available on Google Scholar.

Previously, I was a teaching and scholarship lecturer in the department of computing science at the University of Aberdeen.

My research is primarily based on human-computer interaction, with a focus on persuasive technology and behaviour change interventions. My work involves engaging with user groups to develop rich, theoretically informed user interaction models that may be evaluated through quantitative and qualitative evaluation studies. Previous topics I have worked on include assistive living technology for older adults and behaviour change for cybersecurity.

My most recent work focuses on extending Kaptein’s Susceptibility to Persuasion scale (STPS) (Kaptein et al., 2012). Persuasive technologies and behaviour change interventions typically incorporate and apply persuasive strategies, which are often based on Cialdini’s principles of persuasion (Cialdini, 2016). For more information on Cialdini’s principles of persuasion, watch this:

Various studies have demonstrated how persuasive strategies are not equally effective and this is often due to a wide range of potential factors. This includes individual differences such as age, gender, personality, and other cognitive traits as well as contextual and environmental factors. As such, behaviour change interventions are typically more effective when they are personalised. One approach toward developing personalised interventions involves measuring susceptibility to different types of persuasive strategies.

Kaptein et al. (2012) developed a self-reporting scale for measuring susceptibility to the original six Cialdini principles of persuasion (Cialdini, 2016). The STPS was validated using a longitudinal study of behavioural observations and has been widely used to discover what persuasive strategies are likely to be more effective for specific individuals.

The most recently defined Cialdini principle of persuasion, Unity, has underlying similarities to the principle of Social-Proof. Both principles suggest that our behaviour may be influenced by the observations of others’ actions and behaviour. As such, it may be challenging to measure susceptibility to both Unity and Social-proof, given their underlying similarities.

We conducted a study (Vargheese et al, 2020) to extend the STPS to include a measure of Unity in addition to Social-Proof. We also wanted to discover what other Cialdini principles of persuasion we could measure together with Unity and Social-Proof and measure the impact of individual differences on susceptibility and behaviour. This work was accepted at the 2020 Persuasive Technology conference and a video presentation summarizing this work is available on YouTube:

  • Cialdini, R. (2016). Pre-suasion: A revolutionary way to influence and persuade.
  • Kaptein, M., de Ruyter, B., Markopoulos, P., & Aarts, E. (2012). Adaptive Persuasive Systems. ACM Transactions on Interactive Intelligent Systems, 2(2), 1–25.
  • Vargheese, J.P., Collinson, M., Masthoff, J. (2020). Exploring Susceptibility Measures to Persuasion. In: Gram-Hansen, S., Jonasen, T., Midden, C. (eds) Persuasive Technology. Designing for Future Change. PERSUASIVE 2020. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 12064. Springer, Cham.

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