Chance memories : supporting involuntary reminiscence by design

Fennell, Jacqueline E.. 2015. Chance memories : supporting involuntary reminiscence by design. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]


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Chance memories Appendix 1, 2, 3 and 4.pdf

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Chance memories Appendix 6i.pdf

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Chance memories Appendix 6ii.pdf

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Abstract or Description

People give huge importance to preserving their memories as a way of understanding who they are and what they are about. Current memory support systems, however, favour people self-prescribing time and space to collect, store and maintain explicit memory triggers (e.g. photographs, videos, memorabilia). Finding time to access such systems and their potential triggers to engage in reminiscence is a process requiring great effort, organisation and dedication.
This thesis builds on the view that it is not the supports that contain the memory but people to explore new systems that hint at memories rather than serving as repositories. This offers great scope for designers, as systems no longer have to be designed around personal memory evidence alleviating the need for people to contribute, update and retrieve personal content. To achieve this, understanding around involuntary memory provides inspiration towards designing support and is considered through more specific questions:
. What are current methods for capturing, archiving and accessing memory triggers?
. Through understanding the nature of memory, how can design support unexpected
. How might designed support for unexpected remembering enhance reminiscing experiences?
The methodology is an iterative evaluation of current practices, analysis, proposals and recommendations, with three methods used throughout. First, I review literature around the nature of memory and exploring the current approaches for designing reminiscence support as a foundation for new approaches. Second, I report empirical studies to collect anecdotal evidence of unexpected remembering. Finally, I develop proposals and recommendations that reflect on the findings of the literature review and explorations showing how design can extend and enhance current experiences of unexpected remembering.
Overall, this thesis develops a new approach to designing memory support. As an alternative to prescribing explicit, intense and proactive memory recall instalments, this research presents design recommendations that are sympathetic to how people naturally remember and their need for spontaneous, lightweight memory recall.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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Appendix 5 is excluded as it contains 3rd party copyright material.


Involuntary human memory, HCI, reminiscence support, interaction design, reflective design practice

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30 April 2015

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Date Deposited:

16 Jun 2015 10:27

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 09:14


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