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On the design of Subly: Instilling Behavior Change during Web Surfing through Subliminal Priming

On the design of Subly: Instilling Behavior Change during Web Surfing through Subliminal Priming

Caraban, A., Karapanos, E., Teixeira, V., Munson, S. A., & Campos, P. (2017). On the Design of Subly: Instilling Behavior Change During Web Surfing Through Subliminal Priming. In International Conference on Persuasive Technology (pp. 163-174). Springer, Cham.

With 50% of people spending over 6 h per day surfing the web, web browsers offer a promising platform for the delivery of behavior change interventions. One technique might be subliminal priming of behavioral concepts (e.g., walking). This paper presents Subly, an open-source plugin for Google’s Chrome browser that primes behavioral concepts through slight emphasis on words and phrases as people browse the Internet. Such priming interventions might be employed across several domains, such as breaking sedentary activity, promoting safe use of the Internet among minors, promoting civil discourse and breaking undesirable online habits such excessive use of social media. We present two studies with Subly: one that identifies the threshold of subliminal perception and one that demonstrates the efficacy of Subly in a picture-selection task. We conclude with opportunities and ethical considerations arising from the future use of Subly to achieve behavior change.

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Evangelos Karapanos

April 06, 2017
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  1. Instilling Behavior Change during Web Surfing through Subliminal Priming On

    the Design of Subly: Ana Caraban, Vítor Teixeira, Pedro Campos, Madeira Interactive Technologies Institute, PT Evangelos Karapanos, Cyprus University of Technology, CY Sean A. Munson, University of Washington, USA
  2. Modes of thinking AUTOMATIC REFLECTIVE 2 Dual Process Theory

  3. AUTOMATIC REFLECTIVE Adams A, et al. (2015). Mindless Computing. 6%

    94% Systems designed for...
  4. Behavior change through knowledge

  5. One third of owners of activity trackers discard the tracker

    within the first 6 months Ledger, D. (2014)
  6. How can we design technologies that trigger the Automatic Mind?

  7. Subliminal Priming of behavior concepts (e.g., to walk)

  8. 50% people spend over 6 hours per day surfing on

    the web
  9. Subly: Priming through changing the opacity of words

  10. 1. Can we determine the threshold of subliminal perception? STUDIES

  11. FirstWordSecondWord Opacity was decreased at rate of 1% every 0.5

    sec STUDY 1 Thresholds of Subliminal Perception
  12. FirstWordSecondWord Participants were asked to look at the screen and

    press the spacebar when noticing a change STUDY 1 Thresholds of Subliminal Perception
  13. FirstWordSecondWord STUDY 1 Foveal vision FirstWord SecondWord Peripheral vision Thresholds

    of Subliminal Perception
  14. FirstWordSecondWord STUDY 1 Black FirstWordSecondWord Blue Thresholds of Subliminal Perception

  15. FirstWordSecondWord STUDY 1 Black FirstWordSecondWord Blue 5 repetitions 25 participants

    Thresholds of Subliminal Perception
  16. Median Opacity threshold (black font) = 0.76 Median Opacity threshold

    (blue font) = 0.73 This difference between blue and black text (3%) was not statistically significant Findings Thresholds of Subliminal Perception
  17. 1. Can we determine the threshold of subliminal perception? 2.

    Can subliminal priming influence users’ decisions? 2 STUDIES
  18. e.g “A bird, a cat and a bear were standing

    on a tree” STUDY 2 Efficacy of subliminal priming
  19. STUDY 2 e.g “A bird, a cat and a bear

    were standing on a tree” Efficacy of subliminal priming
  20. STUDY 2 e.g “A bird, a cat and a bear

    were standing on a tree” Does priming a concept lead to higher likelihood of selecting the corresponding image? Efficacy of subliminal priming
  21. Does priming a concept lead to higher likelihood of selecting

    the corresponding image? STUDY 2 e.g “A bird, a cat and a bear were standing on a tree” 30 participants 9 sentences 3 condition Efficacy of subliminal priming
  22. Supraliminal STUDY 2 66 % Control Subliminal Are participants more

    likely to select a relevant image when a hint is primed in the sentence? Sentences, images and primes were randomized 76 % e.g “A bird, a cat and a bear were standing on a tree” Efficacy of subliminal priming
  23. Findings

  24. Were individuals more likely to select a relevant image when

    we primed a hint? 0% 25% 50% subliminal control supraliminal Chance of selection = 33% STUDY 2 33% 33% 33%
  25. Were individuals more likely to select a relevant image when

    we primed a hint? 0% 25% 50% 28% STUDY 2 control
  26. Were individuals more likely to select a relevant image when

    we primed a hint? 0% 25% 50% 42% 28% Subliminal primes leaded to a higher chance of selection p < 0.05 STUDY 2 subliminal control
  27. 0% 25% 50% 28% 24% Aversion effect p = 0.61

    STUDY 2 Were individuals more likely to select a relevant image when we primed a hint? subliminal control supraliminal
  28. STUDY 2 Did priming disrupt the reading process? F(2)=0.04, p=0.96

    F(16)=1.43, p=0.13 F(8)=9.14, p<0.001 Effect of condition on reading time: Effect of the sentence on reading time: Interaction effect between condition and the sentence:
  29. STUDY 2 Did priming disrupt the reading process? Pauses in

    reading High interrater agreement (Cohen’s Kappa=0.85) No significant difference among the three conditions (Fisher’s exact test, p=0.99) a pause in reading leading to silence, a hesitation or a repetition in reading
  30. Subliminal priming of behavioral concepts can be a promising Behavior

    change intervention
  31. None
  32. Yet, bear in mind the task..

  33. None
  34. https://github.com/SublyM-ITI/Subly subly.m-iti.org www Database connection Events definition Interaction Logs http

    request External applications or web browsing behaviors Interactions with primes and webpages
  35. Thank you Ana Caraban (ana.caraban@gmail.com) https://github.com/SublyM-ITI/Subly subly.m-iti.org www