Ava Scott

Ava Scott
PhD Student
Pronouns: she/her/hers
[email address hidden]
UCLIC, University College London
66 - 72 Gower Street
London, WC1E 6EA
United Kingdom

My research explores how technology mediates intentionality in everyday life. Co-supervised by Prof Yvonne Rogers and Prof Sam Gilbert, my work is informed by cognitive neuroscience, human-computer interaction, and psychology.
I am funded by the Leverhulme Ecological Study of Brain Programme, which encourages students to priortise ecological, interdisciplinary research paradigms.

One of my research streams explores the triggers of reminder setting, also known as intention offloading. Our work has suggested that confidence judgements (or metacognitive judgements) are a critical trigger for reminder setting in everyday life. For example, someone with low confidence in their own memory is more likely to set a reminder (and use external memory). However, some people make innaccurate confidence judgements, resulting in under- or over-use of reminders. Hence, our next project focuses on designing an intervention which trains metacognitive abilities so that people can make more optimal use of reminders.

While some reminders help us do more of we what we want to do, we can also use reminders to help us do less of what we don't to do. This research stream focuses on empowering individuals to build their own digital wellbeing interventions. For example, we taught participants to use iOS Shortcuts to help them with their problematic use of Instagram. By reflecting on their own use, and what they are willing to tolerate as an intervention, individuals can radically personalise their use of their devices.

While the above two research streams focus on how individuals use technology to mediate their intentions, my final stream of research explores whether people perceive machines to have intentions of their own. Furthermore, I am interested in the affective response to 'creepy technologies', or machines that oppose certain people's intentions.

Brief biography

I graduated with a first class degree in Human Sciences from the University of Oxford in 2018. After working in business data intelligence for two years, I was accepted into the Leverhulme Ecological Study of the Brain Doctoral Training Programme. I am currently supervised by Professor Yvonne Rogers (UCLIC) and Professor Sam Gilbert (Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience).