Culturally-relevant Persuasive Technology

In my doctoral dissertation, Culturally Relevant Persuasive Technology, I explored how culture affects the ways in which people interpret persuasive technologies, and how technologies can be designed to be culturally relevant. Based on a combination of findings from the cross-cultural psychology literature on persuasion, analyses of existing persuasive technology design practice, and qualitative analysis of practices of New Zealand social marketing experts, I established a set of effective, culturally relevant design strategies for persuasive games and technologies. To experiment with the culturally relevant strategies, I designed, implemented, and evaluated two versions of a persuasive game titled Smoke? that promotes and educates players about smoking cessation. One version of Smoke? was designed to be more persuasive for a NZ European audience and promoted individualist values. Its counterpart was designed to be more persuasive for a Maori audience and promoted collectivist values. Both games were developed in a participatory manner, with players and stakeholders involved and contributing towards pre-design research, two iterations of design and development, and evaluation. Evaluations of the games were conducted using both quantitative and qualitative methods, and revealed that after play, all players, on average, had strengthened anti-smoking beliefs, but that in culturally-matched conditions, players demonstrated an even greater shift in attitude.