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Title: Intelligent agent design for persuading the elderly to adopt a healthy lifestyle
Authors: Yu, Xinjia
Keywords: Social sciences::Psychology
Engineering::Computer science and engineering
Issue Date: 2021
Publisher: Nanyang Technological University
Source: Yu, X. (2021). Intelligent agent design for persuading the elderly to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Doctoral thesis, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
Abstract: The adoption of a healthy lifestyle, such as regular exercise and good nutrition, is important for the wellbeing of seniors. Persuasion plays a key role in influencing the elderly to adopt or maintain a healthy lifestyle. Since the elderly are facing the problem of diminishing social relations, persuasive agents are widely used to assist face-to-face persuasive efforts. However, many seniors population have low technical abilities and cannot utilize the available persuasive agents effectively. Therefore, improving persuasive agent design with higher engagement is necessary for promoting wider adoption of healthy lifestyles among the elderly. Motivated by the problem of low engagement in human-agent interaction in senior users, in this thesis, a human-agent engagement questionnaire is developed as a tool to study the human-agent relationship. Using phenomenographic method based In the study, I found that the persuadee's role expectation towards the persuader and their interaction patterns influence the engagement of communication and the persuasion results. To guide a persuasive agent design based on the findings of this study, a Role Model is proposed to persuade seniors to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The model categorizes the persuadees as the leader type, the follower type and the peer type based on the phenomena observed in user studies. The The first two types of persuadees prefer specific personalized messages based on their role awareness and role expectations towards the persuader. A targeted individual who considers himself as a leader in his relationship with the persuader tends to accept worship as emotional support, following companion as social support, and responsibility stimulation to push himself in active knowledge and solution support. On the other hand, a follower type persuadee needs more praise as emotional support, plan and goal management and supervision as social support, and guidance in solving problems. Whether the role played by the persuader can fulfil the expectation of the persuadee affects persuasion effectiveness and interaction engagement. A tailored persuasive message and strategy corpus are created based on the role distinction of the persuadees. To apply the proposed model in persuasive agent design, an argumentation graph-based method is utilized to map my proposed model into a computational model in agent designs. Based on these contributions, a multi-agent persuasive system is proposed to assist the seniors' adult children to persuade their parents to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Extensive user studies (n=62) have been conducted in this thesis to support the effectiveness of our proposed model and agent design in both communication engagement and persuasion effectiveness. According to the Role Model proposed in this thesis, the mismatching between the expectation of the senior parents toward their children and the actual role played by their adult children causes the failure of persuasion. When the proposed multiple agent system selects and provides the suitable agent to play the right role to assist the persuading process, the persuasion success rate will enhance because of the fulfilment of persuadee's role expectation. This thesis applies the Role Theory in persuasion study with the proposed of Role Model to improve the widely used persuasion model Transtheoretical Model (TTM) to assist the adult children to persuade their senior parents to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Besides the consideration of stages of change as the independent variable to choose a persuasion strategy, the Role Model provides an innovative perspective to analyze the role expectation of the persuadee towards the persuader. This model helps to narrow down the strategy pool at each action node in persuasive agent design. This study contributed to the following aspects. Firstly, a human-agent engagement questionnaire is developed. Secondly, a Role Model is proposed with a corpus of persuasive strategies based on the role expectation of the persuadees. Thirdly, a computational persuasive agent design framework and a multi-agent system are designed to promote the elderly to adopt a healthy lifestyle. User study results show satisfactory validity and reliability of the proposed questionnaire, model, and agent design. Based on the research findings, this study can contribute to not only the persuasive agent design, but also the wellbeing of seniors by promoting healthy lifestyle adoption.
Schools: Interdisciplinary Graduate School (IGS) 
Research Centres: The Joint NTU-UBC Research Centre of Excellence in Active Living for the Elderly (LILY)
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).
Fulltext Permission: open
Fulltext Availability: With Fulltext
Appears in Collections:IGS Theses

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