PhD defenses at the Faculty of Informatics

The Role of Context in Human Memory Augmentation

You are cordially invited to attend the PhD Dissertation Defense of Evangelos Niforatos on Friday, April 20th 2018 at 15h30 in room A-13 (Red building)

Technology has always had a direct impact on what humans remember. In the era of smartphones and wearable devices, people easily capture on a daily basis information and videos, which can help them remember past experiences and attained knowledge, or simply evoke memories for reminiscing. The increasing use of such ubiquitous devices and technologies produces a sheer volume of pictures and videos that, in combination with additional contextual information, could potentially significantly improve one’s ability to recall a past experience and prior knowledge. Calendar entries, application use logs, social media posts, and activity logs comprise only a few examples of such potentially memory-supportive additional information. This work explores how such memory-supportive information can be collected, filtered, and eventually utilized, for generating memory cues, fragments of past experience or prior knowledge, purposed for triggering one’s memory recall. In this thesis, we showcase how we leverage modern ubiquitous technologies as a vessel for transferring established psychological methods from the lab into the real world, for significantly and measurably augmenting human memory recall in a diverse set of often challenging contexts. We combine experimental evidence garnered from numerous field and lab studies, with knowledge amassed from an extensive literature review, for substantially informing the design and development of future pervasive memory augmentation systems. Ultimately, this work contributes to the fundamental understanding of human memory and how today’s modern technologies can be actuated for augmenting it.

Dissertation Committee:

  • Prof. Marc Langheinrich, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Research Advisor)
  • Prof. Fabio Crestani, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Matthias Hauswirth, Università della Svizzera italiana, Switzerland (Internal Member)
  • Prof. Enrico Rukzio, Ulm University, Germany (External Member)
  • Prof. Corina Sas, Lancaster University, UK (External Member)