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Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2010 Mar-Apr;18(2):119-30. doi: 10.3109/10673221003707538.

Relational agents in clinical psychiatry.

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Northeastern University, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Relational agents are computational artifacts, such as animated, screen-based characters or social robots, that are designed to establish a sense of rapport, trust, and even therapeutic alliance with patients, using ideal therapeutic relationships between human counselors and patients as role models. We describe the development and evaluation of several such agents designed for health counseling and behavioral-change interventions, in which a therapeutic alliance is established with patients in order to enhance the efficacy of the intervention. We also discuss the promise of using such agents as adjuncts to clinical psychiatry, a range of possible applications, and some of the challenges and ethical issues in developing and fielding them in psychiatric interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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