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    Negotiation in Automated E-Coaching

    An Application in Mobile Insomnia Treatment

    HCI 2018

    Proceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2018)

    Belfast, UK, 4 - 6 July 2018


    Robbert Jan Beun, Fiemke Griffioen-Both & Jaap Lancee



    In this paper, we present the design of a negotiation protocol for behaviour change exercises that are supported by automated e-coaching systems. Negotiation is introduced as an interactive per-suasive strategy with the aim to improve adherence of exercises. The protocol is implemented in a mobile application, called SleepCare, that supports cognitive behaviour therapy for insomnia. The interaction design of the application is centred around the paradigm of Talk-and-Tools. Talk repre-sents personalized conversations with a virtual e-coach, while Tools are represented by special-ized modules that form a coherent structure of input and output facilities.

    We focus on the tech-nique of sleep restriction, an intensive form of behaviour change that requires strong perseverance from the user. Both user and e-coach may negotiate about the attributes of the sleep restriction technique, here the duration of the total time in bed. The algorithm that calculates the negotiation space is personalized on the basis of previous sleeping behaviour of the coachee, the stage of the program and general constraints of the insomnia therapy.

    The system is evaluated by means of au-tomated simulations and data from a randomized controlled trial. More than 50% of the subjects who did sleep restriction as a behaviour changing exercise used the protocol in the first round and negotiated with the system about an agreed time in bed. We expect that negotiation includes a number of important adherence enhancing strategies in e-coaching: increase of the coachee’s au-tonomy, a sense of shared decision making and commitment.


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