Guest Lecture by M. Sobolev on Digital Nudges and Screen Time, 22 April 2021

Thursday, 22 April 2021, 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.

About Michael Sobolev

Michael Sobolev is a behavioral scientist, behavioral designer, and a health technologist. He is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell Tech and Northwell Health in New York City. He earned his PhD in Behavioral Science from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in 2017. Michael’s current research interests include the design of behavioral technology, behavior change and digital nudging, digital and mobile health (mHealth), and behavioral data science.

About the Lecture

Despite the huge advantages of smartphones, a significant proportion of people believe they are over-using their phone and would like to change their mobile habits. As a solution, screen time applications were recently launched by Google and Apple to empower people to change their smartphone usage and to increase digital wellbeing. We conducted a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to test the effectiveness of two digital nudges for reducing screen time: passive digital nudge in the form of grayscale mode and active digital nudge with time limits. These features are available on nearly any smartphone and are designed to nudge people to spend less time on the phone, for example with imposing time limits for ‘addictive’ social media apps. We test the effectiveness of these digital nudges for supporting users in their endeavour to self-regulate phone usage and reduce screen time. We also examined the effect of screen time reduction on well-being or academic performance. Finally, we discuss research and practical implications for habitual technology use and digital addiction.


Thursday, 22 April 2021, 2:00 p.m. –  3:30 p.m. (Zurich time / CEST)

We are pleased to invite you to join this guest lecture. Registration is not required. Please be aware that we will be recording this guest lecture and will be making it available in our teaching library. If you have any concerns about this, please contact Olivia Keller ( prior to the start of the guest lecture.

Prof. Dr. Tobias Kowatsch, Assistant Professor for Digital Health, University of St.Gallen (HSG); Adjunct Assistant Professor, Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health, National University of Singapore; Scientific Director, Centre for Digital Health Interventions (CDHI), ETH Zurich & HSG; Lead PI*

Prof. Dr. Elgar Fleisch, Professor of Information Management, ETH Zürich Professor of Technology Management, University of St.Gallen; Advisory Board Member, CDHI, ETH Zürich & University of St.Gallen; PI*

Prof. Dr. Florian von Wangenheim, Professor of Technology Marketing, ETH Zurich & Advisory Board Member, CDHI; PI*

* Future Health Technologies programme, Campus for Research Excellence and Technological Enterprise (CREATE), Singapore-ETH Centre, Singapore

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