Shabnam FakhrHosseini is a postdoctoral associate at the MIT AgeLab who works primarily on the C3 Connected Home Logistics Consortium. Shabnam was born in a small town called Astaneh in North Iran, near the Caspian Sea. At the age of 18 she moved to Tehran to attend Shahid Beheshti University, where she studied clinical psychology. Her interests quickly turned toward research; she was an author on six academic publications as an undergraduate. For her Master’s, she shifted her area of study to general psychology, out of a desire to do more research.
For her doctoral work, Shabnam attended Michigan Technical University. Moving from the capital of Iran to a town on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula was a major change for her. “The speed of my life changed by ten times,” Shabnam says. During her PhD work, she did research on human-robot interactions and in-vehicle auditory displays, conducting an experiment to observe the effects of different kinds of music on anger while driving. “Emotion leads to errors on the road, but it is often neglected in the area of driving research,” Shabnam explains.
After completing her PhD, Shabnam moved to Boston to work as a user researcher at Bose. She found, though, that the position did not fully satisfy her academic interests. A former advisor recommended that she apply for an open post-doctoral position at the MIT AgeLab, where today she is a researcher.
At the AgeLab, Shabnam works on research questions related to home-connected technology generally and for older adults specifically. Her research, which is done as part of the C3 Consortium, draws on survey studies and in-home interviews with older adults. The focus of this work is to begin to understand people’s, particularly older adults’ and caregivers’, lifestyles, barriers and pain points, so that developers can use these results to improve or create technologies that can help people with their biggest challenges.