Mood mirroring with an embodied virtual agent: A pilot study on the relationship between personalized visual feedback and adherence

Simon Provoost, Jeroen Ruwaard, Koen Neijenhuijs, Tibor Bosse, Heleen Riper

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Human support is thought to increase adherence to internet-based interventions for common mental health disorders, but can be costly and reduce treatment accessibility. Embodied virtual agents may be used to deliver automated support, but while many solutions have been shown to be feasible, there is still little controlled research that empirically validates their clinical effectiveness in this context. This study uses a controlled and randomized paradigm to investigate whether feedback from an embodied virtual agent can increase adherence. In a three-week ecological momentary assessment smartphone study, 68 participants were asked to report their mood three times a day. An embodied virtual agent could mirror participant-reported mood states when thanking them for their answers. A two-stage randomization into a text and personalized visual feedback group, versus a text-only control group, was applied to control for individual differences (study onset) and feedback history (after two weeks). Results indicate that while personalized visual feedback did not increase adherence, it did manage to keep adherence constant over a three-week period, whereas fluctuations in adherence could be observed in the text-only control group. Although this was a pilot study, and its results should be interpreted with some caution, this paper shows how virtual agent feedback may have a stabilizing effect on adherence, how controlled experiments on the relationship between virtual agent support and clinically relevant measures such as adherence can be conducted, and how results may be analyzed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHighlights of Practical Applications of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems, and Complexity
Subtitle of host publicationThe PAAMS Collection - International Workshops of PAAMS 2018, Proceedings
EditorsJuan M. Corchado, Vicente Julian, Eneko Osaba Icedo, Javier Bajo, Patrycja Hoffa-Dabrowska, Ricardo Azambuja Silveira, Alberto Fernandez, Sylvain Giroux, Elena María Navarro Martínez, Philippe Mathieu, Antonio J. Castro, Nayat Sanchez-Pi, Elena del Val, Rainer Unland, Ruben Fuentes-Fernandez
PublisherSpringer-Verlag
Pages24-35
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9783319947785
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018
Event16th International Conference on Practical Applications of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems, PAAMS 2018 - Toledo, Spain
Duration: 20 Jun 201822 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameCommunications in Computer and Information Science
Volume887
ISSN (Print)1865-0929

Conference

Conference16th International Conference on Practical Applications of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems, PAAMS 2018
CountrySpain
CityToledo
Period20/06/201822/06/2018

Cite this

Provoost, S., Ruwaard, J., Neijenhuijs, K., Bosse, T., & Riper, H. (2018). Mood mirroring with an embodied virtual agent: A pilot study on the relationship between personalized visual feedback and adherence. In J. M. Corchado, V. Julian, E. Osaba Icedo, J. Bajo, P. Hoffa-Dabrowska, R. A. Silveira, A. Fernandez, S. Giroux, E. M. Navarro Martínez, P. Mathieu, A. J. Castro, N. Sanchez-Pi, E. del Val, R. Unland, ... R. Fuentes-Fernandez (Eds.), Highlights of Practical Applications of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems, and Complexity: The PAAMS Collection - International Workshops of PAAMS 2018, Proceedings (pp. 24-35). (Communications in Computer and Information Science; Vol. 887). Springer-Verlag. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-94779-2_3