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Worn out: exploring the phenomenon of mental health wearable devices
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 01:44 authored by Antoinette Pavithra Joseph
“Worn out : Exploring the Phenomenon of Mental Health Wearable Devices” is a dissertation based on qualitative research that seeks to understand how the contemporary western understanding of mental well-being and mental ill health is forged through the use of technological interventions such as wearable devices. I attempt to untangle the complex interactions between researchers, device creators, devices, multi-national corporations, mental health practitioners and device users who inhabit a posthuman cyborg world where devices serve as prostheses for supposedly dysfunctional minds. I examine how users ascribe meaning to the physiological artefacts of emotion captured by wearable devices, to construct a sense of self, mediate a sense of control, agency and normativity based on their interaction with these devices. I also explore the influencing factors that drive the creation of algorithms that attempt to determine hitherto elusive objective baselines for states of being that were previously considered subjective and variable. Is the seeming reductionism of a range of meanings of the physiological signs of distress read by devices a cause for concern? Does the use of these devices prove therapeutic or are they being used as another means of socialization? These are the questions I seek to answer through the examination of the phenomenon of individual and corporate mental health wearable devices.