Mar 2013

Maria Wolters, Reminding and Remembering – What do we do with Little Miss Scatterbrain?


In this talk, I will give an overview of recent work on reminding and remembering that I have been involved in. I will argue two main points.
– Reminding in telehealthcare is not about putting an intervention in place that enforces 100% adherence to the protocol set for the patient by their wise clinicians. Instead, we need to work with users to select cues that will help them remember and that are solidly anchored in their conceptualisation of their own health and abilities, their life, and their home.
– When tracking a person’s mental health, the stigma of being monitored can outweigh the benefits of monitoring. We don’t remember everything perfectly – if we did, that would be pathological. But this is a problem when we’re asked to report our own feelings, activity levels, sleeping patterns, etc. over a period of several days or weeks, which is important for identifying mental health problems. Is intensive monitoring the solution? Only if it is unobtrusive and non-stigmatising.

I will conclude with a short discussion of the EU project Forget-IT that started in February 2013 and looks at contextualised remembering and intelligent preservation of individual data (such as a record of trips a person made or photos they’ve taken) and organisational data (such as web sites).


Maria Wolters is a Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh who works on the cognitive and perceptual foundations of human computer interaction. She specialises in dialogue and auditory interfaces. The main application areas are eHealth, telehealthcare, and personal digital archiving. Maria is the Scientific coordinator of the EU FP7 STREP Help4Mood, which supports the treatment of people with depression in the community, and is a researcher on the EU FP7 IP Forget-IT, which looks at sustainable digital archiving. She used to work on the EPSRC funded MultiMemoHome project, which finished in February