Things that Make Us Reminisce: Everyday Memory Cues as Opportunities for Interaction Design.



Conference paper

(pp. 3443-3452). Proceedings of the 33th Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2015 (CHI′15), 18-23 April 2015, Seoul, Korea, ACM Press.


  • van Gennip, D.
  • Hoven, E. van den.
  • Markopoulos, P.



Interactive devices can support personal remembering to benefit well-being. These designs require insight into what brings the past to mind, and how people relate to such cues. Prior work focused on mementos in the home; instead, this paper presents a diary and interview study of involuntary memory cueing in everyday life. Data was collected from fifteen adult individuals, using sentence completion diaries, combined with debriefing interviews. Qualitative analysis of the data showed that these participants were relying on everyday physical objects like food items for cueing memories during everyday life, locations and (repeated) activities, while digital items and photos were shown to be less frequent stimulants. Meaningful relations to memory cues can be partially explained from a memory cueing perspective. We discuss how design for remembering can benefit from our insights, through careful trade-offs in timing, exposure to cues, and supporting a process of personal attachment with items invoking memories.