Citation: Hedieh Ranjbartabar, Deborah Richards, Proceedings of the 2016 International Conference on Autonomous Agents & Multiagent Systems, Pages 1471-1473, Singapore, Singapore — May 09 – 13, 2016
The role of virtual humans in a range of health scenarios, including therapy and counselling, are being explored. To help people in managing their emotional health this research project novelly investigates the value of a virtual practitioner to deliver the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). EFT, also known as Tapping Method, is a kind of psychological acupressure technique to optimize emotional and physical health. Significantly, we compare two different types of virtual EFT therapists, one that seeks to exhibit empathetic behaviour with another that delivers the therapy in a neutral manner. An initial online semi-interactive study with 37 participants reported benefits for both therapists from baseline emotion, and these improvements increased with a subsequent session, the empathic agent delivered slight but non-significant improvements but did not achieve a higher level of rapport with the human.
Craig’s Notes (Abstract only available for review)
In this fascinating study of a unique delivery method of EFT, two researchers in Australia took a look at the results of EFT that is delivered by a virtual practitioner as opposed to a live human. I cannot clearly make out whether it was an app with variations in speaking tone, a mechanized robot of sorts or something else. The study compared two different types of virtual EFT therapists – one who exhibited empathetic behavior, and another that delivered the EFT in a neutral manner. The study with 37 participants showed that benefits were received with both types of delivery. The EFT delivered with empathy showed a slightly, but non-significant, higher level of improvement.