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Nadia Berthouze – Bringing affect into technology for chronic pain physical rehabilitation

Emotions and affective states more generally play an important role in people’s life, including when they interact with increasingly pervasive technology. Yet, their integration into technology for real life applications is sparse. Our research aims to design technology that is capable to take into account how we feel so as to provide us with relevant support. This talk will focus on technology for chronic pain physical rehabilitation. Chronic pain brings with it many affective states in addition to frustration or boredom at engaging in repetitive exercises and functional activity. Those include low self-esteem for the new body we have to accept, fear and anxiety of injuring oneself, and low perceived self-efficacy modulated by attention to pain. Whilst gamification has been found to mitigate the more boring aspects of physical rehabilitation, the other affective states are still mostly overlooked resulting in low adherence to the therapy program and low transfer to everyday functional capabilities. In this talk, I will present our investigations into the affective barriers to physical rehabilitation in chronic pain and how technology could help breaking them.