Theory-grounded user modeling for personalized HCI

Mark Graus, Bruce Ferwerda

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Personalized systems are systems that adapt themselves to meet the inferred needs of individual users. The majority of personalized systems mainly rely on data describing how users interacted with these systems. A common approach is to use historical data to predict users' future needs, preferences, and behavior to subsequently adapt the system to these predictions. However, this adaptation is often done without leveraging the theoretical understanding between behavior and user traits that can be used to characterize individual users or the relationship between user traits and needs that can be used to adapt the system. Adopting a more theoretical perspective can benefit personalization in two ways: (i) letting systems rely on theory can reduce the need for extensive data-driven analysis, and (ii) interpreting the outcomes of data-driven analysis (such as predictive models) from a theoretical perspective can expand our knowledge about users. However, incorporating theoretical knowledge in personalization brings forth a number of challenges. In this chapter, we review literature that taps into aspects of (i) psychological models from traditional psychological theory that can be used in personalization, (ii) relationships between psychological models and online behavior, (iii) automated inference of psychological models from data, and (iv) how to incorporate psychological models in personalized systems. Finally, we propose a step-by-step approach on how to design personalized systems that take user traits into account.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersonalized Human-Computer Interaction
EditorsMirjam Augstein, Eelco Herder, Wolfgang Wörndl
Place of PublicationOldenbourg
Number of pages29
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-11-055248-5
ISBN (Print)978-3-11-055247-8
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sept 2019

Publication series

SeriesDe Gruyter Textbook


  • Cognitive models
  • Personalization
  • Psychological models
  • Psychology
  • Theory-driven
  • User modeling


Dive into the research topics of 'Theory-grounded user modeling for personalized HCI'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this