Innovative Research Experiment with UPenn

In the coming months, Seatback will launch an innovative experiment in collaboration with University of Pennsylvania Ph.D. student, Michal Hodor, with the goal of establishing a causal effect between using the Seatback sitting device and the adoption of healthy sitting posture and health outcomes. Additionally, by employing a meticulous research design, the research aims to link the usage of Seatback’s smart chair to an increase in productivity. A worker that adopts healthier, dynamic sitting habits will increase his productivity both directly, by working efficiently, and indirectly, by reducing sick leaves which are a result of the consequences of prolonged sitting. The research will enable the identification of a few important effects in ergonomics that are relevant for Seatback in particular: “steady state”, “numbness”, or “novelty” effects. Steady state may occur if people are correcting their sitting posture only up to a certain degree, either because they are too customized to their unhealthy habit, or because the “perfect sitting posture” is not attainable. Numbness refers to a situation in which people get used to receiving feedback and then stop responding to it. Finally, the device effectiveness may be influenced by the novelty effect, which is the tendency for performance to initially improve when new technology is instituted, not because of any actual improvement in learning, but in response to increased interest in the new technology. Finally, the experiment would examine sitting habit formation. That is, if giving feedback was effective in creating a “new” healthier sitting habit, then it would be expected from people to persist with the improved sitting posture when feedback is no longer received. Existing literature finds disappointing long-run results where individuals fall back to old pattern behavior once incentive program ends.

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