Author Archives: Rebecca Jablonsky

I am a PhD Candidate in Science and Technology Studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a 2019 fellow at the Center for Technology, Society, & Policy at UC Berkeley. My research explores the relationship between cultural values, technology practices, and the inner dimensions of mental and emotional life. My current dissertation project involves ethnographic research with creators and users of meditation apps, exploring how these tools construct and reflect definitions of mental health in the digital age. Prior to entering a doctoral program, I worked as a professional user experience designer and researcher in the San Francisco Bay Area—after earning a Master of Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University and an MA in Psychology from New York University.

Listening to/with Technology: Meditation Apps as the New Voice of Mental Health

Shortly after giving birth to her son, Jessica[1] began to experience a health problem that she describes simply as “pain everywhere.” About one month after we initially met at Spirit Rock Meditation Center in Marin County, California, she elaborated on her symptoms: “Joint pain, muscle pain, stabbing pain, stinging pain, burning pain, tingling, numbness…chest pains, palpitations, dizzy spells, headaches. I feel like I’m going to have a seizure, or brain fog, fatigue.” (read more...)