CE17 - Recherche translationnelle en santé

Embodied conversational agent for enhancing social interaction in schizophrenia – Enhancer

Submission summary

Severe deficits in social interactions are one of the hallmarks of schizophrenia. Prominent hypotheses have suggested that social deficits are primarily the result of impaired social skills or deficits in social cognition. The role of nonverbal communication, and in particular speech synchronization, has been little studied in schizophrenia to date despite its fundamental importance in human interaction. While recent work has demonstrated that embodied conversational agents (ECAs) can engage people with social deficits in various forms of social learning, the acceptability and benefit of their use remain largely unexplored in schizophrenia. This project draws on recent advances in ECA modeling, psychological science, and movement science to assess whether the production of non-verbal social cues combining gestures and speech generated by an ECA can promote the maintenance of patient-ECA social interaction and their generalization to patient-human interactions.
Our project is technically and epistemologically ambitious because it leans on recent advances in movement science, computational modeling, clinical psychology and embodied conversational agents, to assess whether social skills and nonverbal communication of individuals with schizophrenia can be enhanced through repeated interactions with an ECA.
This translational research project will thus allow a transfer of knowledge in both directions: both from basic research to patient application and from patient observations to basic research.

Project coordination

Stéphane Raffard (Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


ISIR Sorbonne Université
ETIS CY Cergy Paris Université
CHU Montpellier Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Montpellier
EPSYLON Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3
EuromovDHM Université de Montpellier

Help of the ANR 722,372 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: October 2022 - 48 Months

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