Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Eleanor Keane 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

My name is Eleanor Keane and I have just completed a BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology at IADT. I specialised in the technology path of the Psychology course. My areas of interest include cyberpsychology, human computer interaction and UX/UI. I have volunteered with Barretstown, OpenSpectrum and Motus Learning. My dream is to one day work as an art therapist with children or go down the route of UX design. My undergraduate research project is summarised below.

Project Description

The exploration of using age-progression software as a method to induce positive behaviour is an area of research that is gaining traction. The choices that an individual makes now can have a monumental effect on their future self. Future self-continuity (FSC) is defined as the extent to which one feels psychologically connected to their future self. Enhanced connectedness to one’s future self can be the key to achieving far-sighted goals. The study explored the effect of gender and age-progression software on FSC scores. The study also investigated whether the introduction of an age-progressed avatar could increase confidence and motivation to financially plan.

Project Objectives

The aim of the study was to investigate whether gender and age-progression software influenced future self-continuity. The study employed a quantitative between-groups semi-experimental design, comparing the FSC scores of 40 users aged 20-50 years. The Future Self-Continuity Questionnaire (FSCQ) was employed to test the hypotheses. The experimental group (N=20) received a prototype containing an age-progressed version of a self-submitted image, the experimental group (N=20) received a prototype with no age progressed image. Both groups filled out the FSCQ.

Project Outcomes

The results of the study indicated that the introduction of an age-progressed avatar had a significant impact on user’s future self-continuity scores. There was no significant difference for the users’ FSC scores based on gender. Findings also showed that confidence and motivation to financially plan for the future was heightened upon introduction of the age-progressed avatar. The current study highlighted the potential value of age-progression software as a means to increase future self-continuity. The findings align with those of previous studies in this area of research. The study fills a gap in the area of age-progression research and FSC research studies. This study was the first of its kind to explore the relationship between gender and future self-continuity.

Thesis Title

The Effects of Gender and Age-Progressed Avatars on Future Self-Continuity