Prof. Susan Michie introduces the Human Behaviour Change project. It is funded by a collaborative award from the Wellcome Trust and involves collaboration between institutions, disciplines, and countries.
The vision is to revolutionise how we 1) build knowledge and understanding about behaviour change and 2) use this knowledge to answer real world questions: what works for what behaviour, for whom, in what setting and why?
The method will involve building an ontology of behaviour change interventions, an artificial intelligence system and a user interface that allows the system to be queried.
A range of problems currently exist for interpreting the behaviour change literature. More than 200 behaviour intervention evaluations are published per day, making it impossible to read them all. Moreover, these publications are not consistent in their use of terminology, and reported detail. Much research is not directly relevant the specific context of knowledge users, e.g. studies conducted in the US but applied in the UK. Finally, our current methods of reviewing the literature are too slow to react in a timely manner to advances in the field.
The current project aims to overcome these problems. Computers will be used to read the current literature and extract the relevant information and to reason and generate new hypotheses based on existing work.