Stress Management Technology in the Workplace: The Extended Cognition Perspective


  • Selma Berbić University of Ljubljana



Stress in the workplace can negatively affect our body, mood, and behavior, leading to poorer work performance, absenteeism or bad relationships with co-workers [1]. In order to prevent such negative consequences and to improve employees’ quality of life, organizations have been adopting stress management interventions at different levels: primary, directed at preventing stress from occurring; secondary, reducing stress that has already occurred; and tertiary, aimed at maximizing performance under experienced stress and minimizing negative impacts on health. My research is about clarifying the role of technologies employed to this end.

Aims and Methods

I aim to scientifically evaluate the effect of stress management technologies from the standpoint of extended cognition. Extended mind theory argues that our cognition is not located within the boundaries of our brains, but rather extended into the environment [2]. Interaction between technology and employee creates a new cognitive system that is situated in the work environment; resulting in the technology becoming a constituent of the cognitive processes of this new cognitive system, rather than always remaining a distinct entity to be operated in an objectively defined manner [2].

I will conduct a systematic review of these technologies by categorizing them by the levels of interventions they support. My focus is on two types of technologies: information technology that is meant to reduce cognitive demands by changing the environment; and persuasive technology aimed at changing the person, by motivating the adoption of new behaviors and attitudes.

Alongside, I may conduct an interview study to help identify best practices, effects, and consequences of practical applications of such technologies, and to contextualize my own findings.

Expected Results

This work should provide insights regarding the significance of stress management technologies for employees’ well-being; and an understanding of extended cognitive systems in the work environment. This would contribute to a principled look at the ethics of the field; help characterize any gaps between theory and practice that may appear also in the interviews; and perhaps identify opportunities for improvements of the stress management interventions in the workplace.


[1] D. Holman, S. Johnson and E. O'Connor, "Stress management interventions: Improving subjective psychological well-being in the workplace," in Handbook of well-being, E. Diener, S. Oishi and L. Tay, Eds., DEF Publishers, 2018.

[2] S. Gallagher, "The Extended Mind: State of the Question," The Southern Journal of Philosophy, vol. 56, pp. 421-447, 2018.