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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Human-Computer Interaction

For a Special Issue on
Intelligent Systems for People with Diverse Cognitive Abilities

Abstract deadline
03 August 2022

Manuscript deadline
15 November 2022

Cover image - Human-Computer Interaction

Special Issue Editor(s)

Noemi Mauro, Torino
[email protected]

Federica Cena, Torino
[email protected]

Cynthia Putnam, DePaul University
[email protected]

Maria Soledad Pera, Boise State University
[email protected]

David Roldán Álvarez, University of Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
[email protected]

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Intelligent Systems for People with Diverse Cognitive Abilities

Special Issue Editors

Noemi Mauro University of Torino

Federica Cena University of Torino

Cynthia Putnam DePaul University

Maria Soledad Pera Boise State University

David Roldán Álvarez University of Universidad Rey Juan Carlos

This special issue highlights state-of-the-art research in intelligent systems and technology for people with diverse abilities. To control scope, we focus on cognitive diversity, including but not limited to, neurodevelopmental disorders and autism, cognitive and learning disabilities, and dementia. This special issue targets the challenges and requirements inherent to the development and assessment of such systems.

The inclusion of people with disabilities is extremely important since about 26% (1 out of 4) in the US have some form of disability. This statistic is reflected worldwide, with 15% of the population experiencing a form of disability. Prior research has developed numerous technologies that support people with physical (e.g. mobility impairments), and sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness and deafness), but less so when it comes to cognitive disabilities. However, according to the Center for Disease, Control and Prevention, the second most widespread form of disability regards cognition (11%). Cognitive disabilities pose challenges from the perspectives of: (1) intelligent systems (e.g., which user data to consider, how to design novel efficient algorithms, which information to present, etc.), (2) interaction design (e.g., how to present information, in which format, etc.) and (3) technology (e.g., development and sound assessment of new algorithms and technologies). The lack of work in this area can be explained by the difficulty in managing the subjectivity of this condition, contrasting with physical problems.

As a result, prior research efforts in developing intelligent systems to support people with cognitive disabilities are limited. Among the HCI community, technology has been widely used to support people with cognitive disabilities for managing specific problems in specific categories of users, such as social interaction for people with autism (Putnam et al, 2019; Martín et al., 2019, Boyd et al, 2016, Simm et al. 2016, Grynszpan et al, 2014), understanding issues for people with learning disabilities (Bryant et al, 2014) and communication and job training for people with cognitive impairments (Roldán et al., 2021, Samuelsson and Ekström, 2019, Smith et al, 2011).

With recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, the study of intelligent systems to support people with cognitive disabilities has become more relevant, since AI potentially increases the accessibility of services (Mauro et al, 2020, Ng and Pera, 2018, Costa et al 2017, Hong et al 2012). There is a growing number of examples showing how AI is being used by people with different disabilities. For instance, new applications offer image and facial recognition for people with visual impairments (e.g., Kianpisheh et al., 2019 ), lip-reading for people with hearing impairments (e.g., Mattos et al, 2018), conversational interaction for people with cognitive impairments (e.g., Yaghoubzadeh and Kopp, 2015) and real-time captioning and translations for people with hearing impairments and second language learners (e.g., Martinez, 2021).

Ethical issues are also a concern (Lillywhite and Wolbring, 2019. Such considerations are compounded by the challenge of making AI itself more inclusive, focusing on AI fairness for people with disabilities (Trewin et al, 2019; Guo et al. 2020), as well as explicitly considering the implications of designing intelligent systems to and for people with cognitive disabilities (Lewis, 2020). Moreover, it is necessary to consider the risks of AI for this target population, for example, discrimination against people with disabilities, lack of awareness of AI, and misfounded trust AI (Smith and Smith, 2021).

In this special issue, we solicit papers to improve awareness of the state-of-the-art. We also hope to identify open issues and new opportunities for research. We also want to build community, as research in this area is disseminated across many different venues. This special issue offers direct opportunities to spotlight research efforts that take multiple perspectives and different application focus (HCI, IR, RecSys, ML, AI, User Modeling, User Behavior, Interaction, development of new algorithms, etc.).

Topics of Interest 

With this special issue, we target open challenges and opportunities related to how to best model users and items in this space; how to deal with the disproportionate amount of data for diverse populations and how that impacts design and development; how to make new and existing strategies supporting this population address trade-offs between privacy and personalization and finally to understand current limitations of sharing datasets and evaluating intelligent systems serving users with diverse cognitive abilities.

Specifically, the topics of interest for the special issue include (but are not limited to):

  • Conceptual models and framework for intelligent applications for people with cognitive disabilities;
  • How to model cognitive disabilities: which data to collect, how to collect them, formalisms to represent user data;
  • Interaction models for people with cognitive disabilities and user-centered design for intelligent applications for people with cognitive disabilities, also considering universal design approach;
  • Search systems for people with cognitive disabilities, such as conversational and traditional modes of interaction with search systems;
  • Job training systems for people with cognitive disabilities;
  • Personalized support for people with cognitive disabilities;
  • Recommender systems for people with cognitive disabilities;
  • Recommendation and search based on expert/human in the loop paradigm;
  • Ethical and privacy issues in dealing with intelligent applications for people with cognitive disabilities;
  • Evaluation and associated concerns (restrictions inherent to the population under study, lack of shared datasets or benchmarks to enable comparisons, metrics);
  • Usability and accessibility studies where the participants are people with cognitive disabilities.
    For questions and queries about the special issue, please email one of the special issue editors.

Submission Instructions

Submission of Proposals 

To help authors find a good fit, we encourage proposals. Proposals should be about 1000 words and provide a clear indication of what the paper is about. Proposals will be evaluated for relevance to the special issue theme, and guidance will be given. Both proposal and full paper submissions should be submitted to the HCI Editorial site (https://rp.tandfonline.com/submission/create?journalCode=HHCI). Follow the guidelines and instructions for submissions on the site. There is a place on the submission site to note that your submission is for the special issue. Special Issue submissions will be peer-reviewed to the usual standards of the HCI journal.

Select "special issue title” when submitting your proposal and paper to ScholarOne

All submissions should be in PDF.

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article

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