UCLIC Research Seminar Series

UCLIC Research Seminar 21st February: Petr Slovak, Promoting mental health with technology
Petr Slovak, UCLIC and Oxford University


UCLIC Research Seminar 21st February: Petr Slovak, Promoting mental health with technology


Technologies have already found an important role in detecting and helping treat mental health difficulties. However, much less is known about applying technology within prevention approaches, with the aim to promote resilience of those at risk and mitigate the occurrence of mental illness later in life. In this talk, I will speak about our work on supporting the development of social-emotional skills that underpin resilience---such as self-regulation, coping with stress, or conflict resolution---in real-world contexts. The emphasis will be on two on-going case-studies done in collaboration with Committee for Children, developers of a prevention program used in 30% of US schools: The first project explores the potential of physical computing and smart textiles, as a proof-of-concept example for physical interventions that can be situated directly within children's everyday practices to support self-regulation. The second examines the opportunities for helping children develop constructive conflict resolution strategies in digital multiplayer worlds, where children spend more and more time while encountering many interpersonal challenges arising from gameplay. I hope to discuss with the audience what the future of technology-enabled social-emotional learning may be.


Petr is a Visiting Research Fellow at UCL Interaction Centre and Evidence Based Practice Unit at UCL, funded by the Schroedinger Fellowship from Austrian Science Fund; he also holds a Visiting Researcher position at Oxford University. His research interests are positioned at the intersection of HCI, mental health promotion, and learning sciences, with the main focus in understanding how technology can meaningfully help in supporting the development of social-emotional competencies `in the wild'.