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date: 12 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter is from the forthcoming The Oxford Handbook of Affective Computing edited by Rafael Calvo, Sidney K. D'Mello, Jonathan Gratch, and Arvid Kappas. Computer agents can emulate the best practices of human healthcare providers in automated health education and health behavior change systems designed to promote healthy behavior such as diet, exercise, medication adherence, and self-care management. By simulating face-to-face counseling with a healthcare provider who is attuned to patients’ affective state, and simulating empathy and other emotions in turn, patient–agent rapport, trust, and therapeutic alliance can be established. These qualities of working relationships are known to be significant determiners of health outcomes in human–human counseling. This chapter surveys research in building such agents and clinical trials of their efficacy.

Keywords: Relational agents, therapeutic alliance, health behavior change

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