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Persuasive robots in healthcare

We develop persuasive robot dialog to address the need to remind older adults in care facilities to drink enough water since there is a tendency to lose your sense of thirst with older age. Robots can take over the repetitive task to encourage people to drink more and to monitor how much they drink.
 
We experiment with different strategies of influence and their determining interactional factors, such as the effects of mutual gaze on persuasive dialog. These dialogs are implemented on a healthcare robot developed in the Smooth project.

We found personalized social proof, such as “most women drink half a liter after this game” to be highly effective, as well as appeals to research “research shows...” and to participants' expertise “you as expert know that...” when participants were caregivers themselves. We also experimented successfully with humor and social practices produced by the robot; for instance, when the robot says “skål”, most people reply “skål”, lift their glasses and drink. 

Impact
Persuasive robots can relieve caregivers of some workload, may contribute to preventing dehydration, entertain the older people somewhat and can create novel opportunities for socializing.

 

Researcher
Kerstin Fischer, Professor (MSO) for Language and Technology Interaction
Research group: InTech
Department: Department of Design and Communication