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.

Research Ethics and Safety Promoted by Embodied Conversational Technology (RESPECT)

Despite decades of advocacy to improve informed consent for human subjects, multiple studies have shown that research subjects often do not understand fundamental concepts required for participation. In this project we are advancing our research toward the development of a scalable, cost-effective, and sustainable patient-centered intervention to make it easier for people to search for research studies, improve the quality of informed consent, improve adherence to research protocols, and promote better reporting of adverse events.

This work is in collaboration with Dr. Michael Paasche-Orlow at Boston Medical Center, and funded by the National Cancer Institute (R01CA158219).