Victoria Schwanda Sosik

PhD Candidate
Information Science
Cornell University




The design, development, and evaluation of Positivity are the main components of my dissertation research. Through this work I'm looking at ways to support engagement with positive psychology interventions. While they have been shown effective in helping people becoming happier, a challenge for these interventions is getting people to continue incorporating these skills into their everyday lives. Positivity leverages social medial content and platforms to help encourage longer term use and overall psychological well-being.


Being Heard

We're studying the ways that people manage and reflect on their relationships, the roles that social media play in these processes, and how technologies can be designed to facilitate these processes. Some activities associated with this project include designing and evaluating tools that can help people continually reflect on their relationships by visualizing computer-mediated communication behavior (e-mail and im/chat for now) and conducting in depth interviews on people's currect practices around managing and reflecting.

Fit4Life & Wii Fit

This project considers persuasive health technologies and the impact they have in real world settings. Under this project, I've co-authored a critical design piece on persuasive health technologies questioning the role of technology in this domain and undertaken qualitative studies of Wii Fit users including the current study which looks at new users' reactions and how they use the system and feel about it over a one month period. These findings can inform the design and evaluation of persuasive technologies.


In this project, we're interested in motivating people to achieve their goals using technologies. We're interviewing people to learn about their goal setting behavior and the tools that they currently use to achieve their goals. Using these interviews, we're designing tools to help motivate users to achieve larger goals that go beyond the to-do list.


We're using system design, system usage data, interviews and surveys to study the use of social media content to encourage personal and social reminiscing. We've also expanded this project to look at place-based and social reminiscing. Interested in reminiscing more yourself? Try it here.

Situation Understanding Bot Through Lanugage and Environment (SUBTLE)

With Prof. Mitch Marcus, PI of the ARO Multi-University Research Initiative, I collected a corpus of dialogues of pairs of individuals working together to solve simple cooperative tasks. We will use this corpus to understand how bots and humans can communicate using natural language. The end result of this project will be a functioning end-to-end system.

With Alyssa Rosenzweig, I designed and built, a system to provide positive psychology interventions to users. We then carried out usability studies to test the functionality of the system.


I worked with Dr. Ann Bunger and Prof. John Trueswell to set up and run an empirical study to investigate the interaction between animacy and role cues in children's categorization of event participants.