Advantages of virtual agents over clinical psychologists during comprehensive mental health interviews using a mixed methods design

Kenji Yokotani, Gen Takagi, Kobun Wakashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The use of Virtual Agents (VAs) is currently a popular topic in mental health interviews. Advantages of VA over Real Expert (RE) in the interview were reported. However, the advantages of audio-visual VAs over REs during comprehensive mental health interviews remain unclear, and their clarification is important to promote the practical application of VAs in these settings. To explore the advantages, we triangulated data using mixed methods design, aiming to show quantitative advantages of the VAs in their perceived rapport and eye movement, and to describe the qualitative advantages of the VAs in their disclosed mental symptoms during the interview. A total of 55 Japanese university students participated in comprehensive mental health interviews conducted by the VA and RE. Findings show that participants perceived rapport and moved their right eyes more often, along with disclosing numerous mental symptoms, with the RE than the VA. However, they disclosed more sex-related symptoms to the VA than the RE. The VA can be used most practically in sex-related health fields. The anonymity conditions in the VA setting might be relevant to patients' self-disclosure of sex-related topics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-145
Number of pages11
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Volume85
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Aug

Keywords

  • Clinical interview
  • Eye movement
  • Rapport
  • Self-disclosure of mental symptoms
  • Threshold model of social influence
  • Virtual agent

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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