Human-Technology Interaction

Research area
The HTI group contributes to the understanding of the role of humans in interaction with technology. It does so by building its research on a disciplinary foundation in the social sciences (mainly cognitive and social psychology, and perception). HTI research builds from these core disciplines and centers around five main areas: human-computer interaction and affective computing (IJsselsteijn / Westerink), decision-making and human-data interaction (Snijders), social psychology and persuasion (Midden), contextual environmental psychology (De Kort), and human perception (Heynderickx / Kohlrausch). At the heart of all HTI research lies an interest in the connection between social scientific disciplines as they apply to technological developments. For instance, HTI’s human-computer interaction research focuses on the conceptualization and measurement of the human experience in relation to technological media. How can technology be seamlessly connected to human perceptions, cognitions, emotions, and actions? Research on (online) decision-making and human-data interaction focuses on how human interaction can be and is affected by the massive amounts of (online) information and on how to help humans make better sense of this information’s hidden value. In HTI’s research on social psychology and persuasion, we analyze how we can best convince humans to interact with technology in a collectively rational way, while research on contextual environmental psychology considers how technology can create the contextual conditions under which humans thrive. Research on human perception centers on how people see, hear, and feel, and how this is related to and can be incorporated in the design and use of technology.

Though these five areas may at first glance appear to be separate, they are in fact closely intertwined, and many projects and papers are written by researchers in more than just one area. Research on recommender systems needs knowledge about social psychology, persuasion, and human-computer interaction; and research on the effects of light on well-being needs knowledge about perception and affect, to name just a couple of examples. HTI has psychologists with a keen interest in and knowledge of technology, and the conviction that behavioral sciences can create value for a society suffused with technology, but only when based on a sound theoretical and careful methodological approach. As a group, we reflect on disciplinary methodology and interventions, and attempt to improve both, particularly - though not necessarily only – through the use of technology.

HTI research benefits from the availability of its lab facilities (the “HTI-lab”), which include opportunities to run studies on virtual reality (VirTUE/e lab), auditory perception (AudLab), gaming (GameXPLab), lighting (LightingLab), and general psychological lab resources. HTI also hosts its own panel of participants and a dedicated system (“ARCHIE”) that enables an experiment to be run with HTI’s experiment committee, and takes care of storing the results of all the experiments.

Contribution to the School
The HTI group studies technology and its relationship with humans, effectively bringing “the human focus” to the School’s research mission. HTI concentrates on expertise in both the social sciences (mainly cognitive and social psychology, and perception) and engineering, studying technology and how it relates to humans and human well-being. The group’s output is characterized by the fact that it develops and contributes to new scientific niches at the crossroads between humans and technology, such as regarding persuasion and social robotics, affective computing, internet science, intelligent lighting and systems. It also contributes to its core disciplinary domains, reflecting on theory, methodology, and research strategy in general.

More information about the Human-Technology Interaction Group can be found at their website.