Persuasive virtual agents for peer pressure simulations in Immersive Virtual Reality: Designing for trainings in people with mild to borderline intellectual disability and alcohol use disorder

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Abstract

Virtual agents for peer pressure simulations remain underexplored in the latest literature. Yet, persuasive appeals by humans are vastly responsible for the development and upkeep of harmful behaviors (e.g. substance abuse, risky sexual behavior). In case the behavior becomes a habit, for instance in alcohol use disorders, therapy may be needed to guide affected patients toward behavior change. Here, training with virtual agents within Immersive Virtual Reality (IVR) could add to the current treatment practice, given that clinics lack actors and valid environments to train refusal skills realistically. In my PhD project, we designed and evaluated a persuasive IVR agent together with experts for alcohol use disorder treatments in people with a mild to borderline intellectual disability (IQ=50-85), given that this group was found at risk for the development and upkeep of addictive disorders. In future works, we aim to validate our IVR prototype with patients, by using a hostile or friendly interpersonal stance via natural persuasive speech features. Furthermore, multi-agent interactions appear interesting to improve the agent’s power within the group, for instance through ‘two against one’ dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022
Event22nd ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2022 - Faro, Portugal
Duration: 6 Sept 20229 Sept 2022
Conference number: 22

Conference

Conference22nd ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2022
Abbreviated titleIVA 2022
Country/TerritoryPortugal
CityFaro
Period6/09/229/09/22

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