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Environmental Behavior Change App

The world currently faces severe environmental and public health challenges largely resulting from negative behavioral patterns. In the U.S., 70 percent of adults aged 20 years old and over are overweight. Globally, obesity, a major risk factor for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, has more than doubled since 1980.

Funding Year: 
North America
Research Areas: 

In addition to public health challenges, greenhouse gases from human activities are the most significant driver of climate change. Solutions to both of these challenges will require significant behavior changes. Given both the prevalence of smartphone usage and the sensing capabilities they are equipped with, this project aims to motivate pro-environmental and healthy behavior change by visualizing behavioral goals and their progress on smartphones.

Researchers will study the effect of an app for the Android phone called WholsZuki they developed that combines sustainability and fitness behavior tracking with multi-chapter narratives. WholsZuki is implemented as an ambient display that is continually present on the lock screen and the wallpaper of the phone to visualize pro-environmental and fitness activities. By leveraging the high frequency with which users check their phones (150 times per day), the display serves as a nudging mechanism pushing users to achieve their sustainability and fitness goals.

Learn more about the Environmental Venture Projects grant program and other funded projects.

Principal Investigators:

James Landay, Professor of Computer Science

Alia Crum, Professor of Psychology

Project Team:

Xin Jiang, Graduate Student in Civil and Environmental Engineering

Michelle Park, Undergraduate Student in Computer Science