Research Interests

My academic interests can be summarised (crudely) as focusing on how technology psychologically affects the user when in interaction and how technology can influence behaviour. My current research focuses on the areas of human-computer dialogue and social computing user experience. More specifically I'm interested how design impacts or perceptions of computer partners as well as commonly observed linguistic behaviours such as lexical and syntactic alignment. In terms of social computing, I'm interested in the role of design and individual differences in anxiety towards content contribution online and how this affects contribution frequency as well as what motivates people to provide online reviews. Although I have experience using qualitative approaches, much of my work uses the scientific method focusing on quantitative analysis, questionnaires, statistics and controlled experiment design.

Current Projects and Areas of Interest

My recent research has focused on merging the fields of HCI and psycholinguistics, exploring how the design of computer partners in human-computer dialogue affects syntactic and lexical alignment as well as how design affects our perceptions of computer partner abilities. I was Principal Investigator on a project, funded by the British Academy and conducted in collaboration with Professor Holly Branigan , looking at how voice anthropomorphism impacts judgement of system abilities as a conversation partner and how that affects user's lexical and syntactic alignment.

I was also a Research Fellow on the EPSRC "Taking on the Teenagers" project, looking at ways to use behavioural psychological insight in the design of energy related behaviour change technologies for teenagers. This project was in collaboration with researchers at the ChiCI group at UCLAN, the FIT Lab at Swansea University, PaCT Lab at Northumbria University and the Knowledge Lab at the University of London.

My PhD investigated how system characteristics affect anxiety towards wiki editing in Higher Education. This research lies very much in the growing field of User eXperience (UX) and applies experimental psychology and usability engineering principles to gather understanding in how system features may lead to (or indeed reduce) anxious reactions towards this web 2.0 technology.

I am passionate about the application of statistics and experimental research methodology in the observation of HCI issues. When at Birmingham I lectured and organised the Evaluation Methods and Statistics course, one of the core modules in the Centre's MSc in HCI. I also previously tutored the 2nd year Psychology Methodology and Statistics course at the University of Edinburgh's Psychology Department for 3 years.