Social robots as motivational interviewers – FuturiZe discussion and demo

online registration required
In programme
Wednesday, 23 October, 2019 - 18:30 to 19:30


Motivational interviewing (MI) is an effective psychological intervention for supporting behaviour change to prevent alcohol and other drug misuse. MI is based on a person-centred collaborative counselling approach that aims to engage the patient in a conversation about their current problem, in order to elicit their personal arguments for change and ideas of solutions. A social robot is a physically embodied, artificial intelligence system that communicates and interacts with humans, and is programmed to elicit values and reasons for change. The robot is not perfect - it still struggles with speech and emotion recognition and interpretation. Although MI is using a personalised dialogue with tailored questions and reflections upon the patient’s answers, social robots seem to have the potential to engage patients in a motivational interview so that they hear themselves argue for a change. Nao, a social robot programmed to deliver MI will be exhibited in the Technology Corner of the Futures Zone of the Lisbon Addictions 2019 Conference.

This activity will be run by Leonie Cooper (School of Psychology, University of Plymouth) in collaboration with Nao, a social robot. Leonie will present and discuss with the participants the available experience and challenges of the use of social robots for therapeutic purposes. She will also introduce Functional Imagery Training (FIT), a therapeutic approach that uses mental imagery to motivate and sustain behaviour change; and show how FIT can be delivered by a social robot. The workshop is organised as part of the EC co-funded project FuturiZe (

Places in the workshop are limited and registration is required: