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Date(s) - 10/03/2014
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Group Seminar Room, The Henry Wellcome Building


Designing, Building, and Testing Behavioral Intervention Technologies in Purple

David C. Mohr & Mark Begale



This talk will provide an overview of Purple, an extensible, modular, and repurposable system created for the development of web and mobile-based applications that support behavior change for health, mental health, and wellness. Purple contains features required to construct applications, and manage and evaluate research trials using these applications. Core functionality of Purple includes elements that support user management, content authorship, content delivery, and data management. We will also provide a brief history of our thinking behind behavioral intervention technologies (BITs) as well as the development of a model that can support the integration of behavioral theory and technology development.


David C. Mohr, Ph.D. is a professor in the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine’s Departments of Preventive Medicine, Psychiatry, and Medical Social Sciences, and is the Director of Northwestern University’s Center for Behavioral Intervention Technologies (CBITs; cbits.northwestern.edu). Dr. Mohr has long been interested in telemental health, having conducted seminal research on the use telephone administered psychotherapy. In recent years, his work has been at the intersection of behavioral science, technology, and clinical intervention research, where he is developing, optimizing, and evaluating interventions that harness web-based and wireless technologies to promote health and mental health. He has overseen the creation of an extensible, modular infrastructure, called “Purple,” for the development of web-based and mobile intervention tools. Purple now supports more than 50 projects around the United States and in developing countries. His current research includes the following projects: 1) the development a context sensing mobile application that harnesses indwelling phone sensor data (GPS, Bluetooth, accelerometry, etc.) to identify specific geographic, activity, social and emotional patient states that can be incorporated into mobile interventions for depression; 2) the integration of web-based intervention and peer networking tools that use principles of online collaborative learning and supportive accountability to enhance learning and adherence; and 3) the integration of intervention technologies into mental health and primary care settings to improve the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of care. Dr. Mohr is also interested in developing new methodologies for the evaluation of psychological and behavioral interventions that address the unique needs and rapidly changing technological environment of behavioral intervention technologies.

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