Professor Judith Masthoff

Professor Judith Masthoff
Ir (Eindhoven), PhD (Eindhoven), PGCert (Brighton)

Personal Chair

Professor Judith Masthoff
Professor Judith Masthoff

Contact Details

work +44 (0)1224 272299

Google scholar profile


Research Interests

Intelligent User Interfaces, Personalization, Persuasive Technology, Recommender Systems, Evaluation of Adaptive Systems, e-Health, Sustainable Transport, Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Current Research

  • Personalization and Group Adaptation. My broad area of research is personalization (how to tailor information to users and their context). I have published widely in this area, with two of my journal articles nominated by reviewers for Best Article of the Year of the User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction (UMUAI) journal. In particular, my research on adapting to groups has had a great impact (over 300 citations to my main article). I have also started work with a.o. Dr Wamberto Vasconcelos on the application of group adaptation techniques to ambient intelligence.

  • Adaptive E-Learning and Emotional Support. My PhD was on an artificial domain-independent teacher, which adapts its teaching to individual learners. More recently, we have investigated how to adapt performance feedback and emptional support (Matt Dennis PhD), exercise selection (Juliet Okpo PhD), and learning material recommendation (Manal Alhathli PhD) to learners' performance and personality. We also investigated the adaptation of emotional support in other settings (such as carers and community first responders; Kirsten Smith PhD, Peter Kindness PhD).
  • Digital Behaviour Intervention, Persuasion and Trust. An application domain of my research is digital behaviour intervention: using technology to motivate and persuade people to change their attitudes and behaviors (e.g. live more healthily and sustainably). I am investigating how to optimize this persuasiveness. For example, I am investigating how to motivate users to walk more (Hien Nguyen PhD, Virtual Health Trainer project), to study more (Matt Dennis PhD), and to use transport more sustainably (EU projects Sustainable and Persuasive Human Users Mobility in future cities project – SUPERHUB and MyWay). I have organized six workshops  and tutorials in this area (at UMAP15, UMAP14, UMAP11, UMAP10, AISB09, AISB08). My Virtual Health Trainer project with a Diabetes clinician has adapted our existing walking coach for Diabetes patients and subsequently performed a clinical trial. My research in the Technology to support Older adult Personal and Social interaction (TOPS) project (Gillian Dowds and JP Vargheese PhDs) and the Using digital technologies to prompt and support self care for melanoma patients: Achieving Self-directed Integrated Cancer Aftercare in rural areas (ASICA) project is also related: motivating elderly people with chronic pain to have social interactions and motivating patients to self-monitor for skin cancer. I have recently co-edited a special issue for the UMUAI journal on Personalization and Behaviour change. I have also started investigating the modeling of user trust. A new reseach project on Digital Behaviour Change for Cyber Security will start soon.
  • Explanations in Recommender Systems and Autonomous Systems. Recommender systems suggest items to purchase or examine based on users' preferences. They may also provide explanations. Together with my former PhD student Nava Tintarev, I have investigated the effectiveness of such explanations, and the impact of personalisation on this effectiveness. This work has resulted in over 280 citations, and a journal article on this topic has recently appeared in the UMUAI journal. A large Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded project has just finished -Scrutable Autonomous Agents (SASSY)- which applied the idea of explanations to distributed autonomous systems, in order to make these systems scrutable by humans.
  • Diagrammatic Reasoning Together with Dr. Gem Stapleton, I have worked on diagrammatic reasoning, in particular automated theorem proving using Euler-based diagrammatic languages.
  • Interactive Television. I have worked on adaptation of TV programmes to groups of users (see group adapation above). Together with PhD student Sanaz Fallahkhair and Dr Lyn Pemberon, I have worked on education via ITV. With Dr Pemberton, I started the European ITV conference series (which has now become the ACM TVX conference), and for a decade served on its steering committee. I was Program Chair of the conference in 2003 and 2004, Doctoral Consortium chair in 2007, Tutorial chair in 2008, and Program Chair of the UxTV conference organized with Microsoft in 2008. I have also co-chaired workshops on the usability of ITV, personalized learning via ITV, universal access of ITV, and have been on the program committee of a series of workshops on personalization of ITV. I am a member of the IFIP working group on ITV.
  • Evaluation of Adaptive Systems. Together with Dr. Alexandros Paramythis and Dr. Stephan Weibelzahl, I have organized a series of workshops and tutorials on the design and evaluation of adaptive systems: at User Modeling (UM) 2005, Adaptive Hypermedia (AH) 06, UM07, UMAP09, UMAP10, and UMAP12. A journal article on this topic has appeared in the UMUAI journal.

  • Computational Linguistics. I am a member of Aberdeen's Natural Language Generation group, and served on the management committee of its EPSRC platform grant. Together with Ivandre Paraboni and Kees van Deemter, I have conducted experiments to measure how effective a refering expression is from a hearer's point of view.
  • IUI for the Medical Domain. I used to do a lot of work on this when employed by Philips Research. More recently, together with my former PhD student Wendy Moncur, I have investigated how best to communicate and adapt medical information to the social network of parents of babies in intensive care. Currently, we are investigating how to support interactions with their social network for carers (Kirsten Smith PhD) and elderly patients with chronic pain (Gillian Dowds PhD), and how to prevent and alleviate stress in first aiders (Peter Kindness PhD).

Teaching Responsibilities

Currently: I do not teach at the University of Aberdeen, but teach at Utrecht University.

Previously, I have taught:

  • Undergraduate courses: Human-Computer Interaction; Adaptive Interactive Systems; The Digital Society; Communication of Computing Science; Data Structures and Algorithms; Enterprise Computing; Distributed Information Systems (cryptography); Usability Evaluation; Intelligent Systems; Interaction Design Laboratory; Knowledge Based Systems.
  • Postgraduate courses: Evaluation of AI Systems; Human-Computer Interaction; Security and Privacy; Adaptive Interactive Systems; Interaction design and usability evaluation for interactive digital tv; Requirements analysis and specification; Targeting your audience (creative problem solving).
  • Continuing Professional Development courses: Usability evaluation for new media; Tailored course for IHS on modeling dynamic interfaces using state diagrams and usability evaluation; Webpage development.
Further Info

External Responsibilities

Prof. Masthoff is the Editor in Chief of the User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction journal. She is a director of User Modeling Inc, the society of researchers and practitioners interested in developing adaptive systems and personalizing users’ experience with systems. She was programme chair of the User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization Conference in 2012.

Prof. Masthoff is also a Chair in Interaction Technology at Utrecht University in the Netherlands.