Positive Computing

What is Positive Computing?

Positive computing puts technology in the service of wellbeing and human development and relies on the intersection of two areas: Technology and the study of the human mind (psychology and neuroscience). We look at how progress in the areas of computing and psychology particularly with respect to the fields of Human Computer Interaction and Positive Psychology can be integrated to inform the design of digital experiences that can make us happier, help us flourish and foster human potential.

We are particularly studying how Internet based interventions, for example those used in Computer Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (cCBT) or positive psychology can be enhanced with new affective computing and behavioral analytics. We are, for example, using Natural Language Processing techniques to analyse events and emotions expressed in diaries written by people with mental health problems, and using this information to build interventions that can help them overcome these.

What are we doing?

  • Wellbeing and Youth New project: "Linking a virtual clinic with the Well-being Centre" with the Young and Well CRC, the Inspire Foundation, and Brain and Mind Research Institute
  • Wellbeing and Youth Our current work in the area of positive computing includes projects with the Brain and Mind Research Institute and the Inspire Foundation which study how positive computing can increase wellbeing in youth.
  • Book We are on sabbatical at the University of Cambridge, working on our book "Positive Computing" to be published by MIT Press.
  • Design We are also engaged in work on interface design principles for fostering wellbeing in online collaborative environments.
  • Blog We currently share resources on our blog at: www.positivecomputing.org.

Selected Publications

  • R.A. Calvo, D. Peters (under contract) "Positive computing" MIT Press
  • M. Liu, R.A. Calvo, A. Pardo (2013) "Visualizing the effect of actions in personal informatics systems" Workshop on Personal Informatics. CHI 2013 Extended Abstracts, April 27 – May 2, 2013, Paris, France [[http://sydney.edu.au/engineering/latte/docs/13-CHI-Tracer.pdf||PrePublication PDF]
  • Rafael A. Calvo, Abelardo Pardo, Dorian Peters "Supporting Emotional Intelligence with Automatic Sensing of the organization’s affective state" Emotional Intelligence in the Workplace Conference, 29-31 May 2013, Ashridge Business School , UK [PrePublication PDF]
  • Liu, M, Calvo, A. R and Pardo, A. (2013), Tracer: A tool to measure student engagement in writing activities, 13th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies, July 15-18, 2013, Beijing, China [PrePublication PDF]
  • R.A. Calvo, D. Peters (2012) "Positive computing: technology for a wiser world". ACM Interactions. (19) 2. July-August. p 28-31.


Rafael A. Calvo
Tracey Davenport (BMRI)
Ian Hickie (BMRI)
Ming Liu
Abelardo Pardo
Dorian Peters