The assumption of Quantified Self is this:

  • a person uses an app or device, such as a heart rate tracker
  • he then reads the data
  • and translates these data into meaningful information
  • this information will lead to self knowlegde
  • and ultimately to a change of behaviour, and an adoption of a more healthy lifestyle
  • the cycle then starts over, to keep the user “on the right track














During this cycle there are various obstacles, that the we study:

  • use:  are the devices easy and pleasant to use? Are they used at all, or do they end up in a drawer?
  • data: does the device measure the right things (validity) in a sufficient precise way (precision and reliability)?
  • is this data understandable for users? Can they translate this into meaningful information? How must the data be presented and/or visualized? What norms, benchmarks & peergroups should be used and are motivating? to wahyt extent are peergroups and internet forums motivating?
  • is the user able  (both on a cognitive and on an emotional level) to relate the information and his lifestyle, and gain self knowlegde? For instance, is he willing to accept that his drinking to much alcohol and sleeping to little is a main cause of his high blood pressure?
  • and ultimately: is the user capable to change his lifestyle? As many smokers know, knowing the right life style does not equal adopting that life style.

All in all, this means that we look at:

  • usability of apps & devices
  • validity of the devices
  • we have found that most devices are precise enough for consumer use. We therefore are not going deep into precision, calibration and the robustness of the measurements  (i.e.: do successive measurements of the same object yield the same results)
  • interpretation of data and the role of benchmarks and peergroups
  • life style change: what are necessary conditions for self tracking to succeed? What role can friends, partners, co-workers, doctors or peergroups play? What are other relevant moderators (age? sex? education level? profession? health level? ).