Relational Agents are computer agents designed to form long-term, social-emotional relationships with their users. We are investigating the use of these agents in task domains in which human-agent relationships actually improve task outcomes, such as in coaching, counseling, psychotherapy and healthcare.

Online Tailored Interventions & Relational Agents for Exercise and Sun Protection

The purpose of this project is to develop a relational agent that is used in conjunction with a year-long, web-based intervention for physical activity promotion and ultraviolet radiation avoidance for cancer prevention. The relational agent will act as a guide for the website and will be evaluated in a randomized clinical trial involving a national sample of 1,600 study participants.

This five-year effort is being performed in collaboration with the University of Rhode Island Cancer Prevention Research Center and ProChange Behavior Systems, Inc., and is funded by the NIH National Cancer Institute.