Predicting Ecological Momentary Assessments in an App for Tinnitus by Learning From Each User's Stream With a Contextual Multi-Armed Bandit

Shahania, Saijal and Unnikrishnan, Vishnu and Pryss, Rüdiger and Kraft, Robin and Schobel, Johannes and Hannemann, Ronny and Schlee, Winny and Spiliopoulou, Myra (2022) Predicting Ecological Momentary Assessments in an App for Tinnitus by Learning From Each User's Stream With a Contextual Multi-Armed Bandit. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 16 .

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Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMA) deliver insights on how patients perceive tinnitus at different times and how they are affected by it. Moving to the next level, an mHealth app can support users more directly by predicting a user's next EMA and recommending personalized services based on these predictions. In this study, we analyzed the data of 21 users who were exposed to an mHealth app with non-personalized recommendations, and we investigate ways of predicting the next vector of EMA answers. We studied the potential of entity-centric predictors that learn for each user separately and neighborhood-based predictors that learn for each user separately but take also similar users into account, and we compared them to a predictor that learns from all past EMA indiscriminately, without considering which user delivered which data, i.e., to a “global model.” Since users were exposed to two versions of the non-personalized recommendations app, we employed a Contextual Multi-Armed Bandit (CMAB), which chooses the best predictor for each user at each time point, taking each user's group into account. Our analysis showed that the combination of predictors into a CMAB achieves good performance throughout, since the global model was chosen at early time points and for users with few data, while the entity-centric, i.e., user-specific, predictors were used whenever the user had delivered enough data—the CMAB chose itself when the data were “enough.” This flexible setting delivered insights on how user behavior can be predicted for personalization, as well as insights on the specific mHealth data. Our main findings are that for EMA prediction the entity-centric predictors should be preferred over a user-insensitive global model and that the choice of EMA items should be further investigated because some items are answered more rarely than others. Albeit our CMAB-based prediction workflow is robust to differences in exposition and interaction intensity, experimentators that design studies with mHealth apps should be prepared to quantify and closely monitor differences in the intensity of user-app interaction, since users with many interactions may have a disproportionate influence on global models.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: DBIS Research > Publications
Divisions: Faculty of Engineering, Electronics and Computer Science > Institute of Databases and Informations Systems > DBIS Research and Teaching > DBIS Research > Publications
Depositing User: Robin Kraft
Date Deposited: 14 Nov 2022 14:15
Last Modified: 14 Nov 2022 14:15

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