Reason explanation for encouraging behaviour change intention

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The demand for intelligent virtual advisors in our rapidly advancing world is rising and, consequently, the need for understanding the reasoning process to answer why a particular piece of advice is provided to the user is directly increasing. Personalized explanation is regarded as a reliable way to improve the user's understanding and trust in the virtual advisor. So far, cognitive explainable agents utilize reason explanation by referring to their own mental state (beliefs and goals) to explain their own behaviour. However, when the explainable agent plays the role of a virtual advisor and recommends a behaviour for the human to perform, it is best to refer to the user's mental state, rather than the agent's mental state, to form a reason explanation. In this paper, we are developing an explainable virtual advisor (XVA) that communicates with the user to elicit the user's beliefs and goals and then tailors its advice and explains it according to the user's mental state. We tested the proposed XVA with university students where the XVA provides tips to reduce the students' study stress. We measured the impact of receiving three different patterns of tailored explanations (belief-based, goal-based, and belief&goal-based explanation) in terms of the students' intentions to change their behaviours. The results showed that the intention to change is not only related to the explanation pattern but also to the user context, the relationship built with the agent, the type of behaviour recommended and the user's current intention to do the behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2021
Place of PublicationNew York, NY
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery, Inc
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450383073
ISBN (Print)9781713832621
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 3 May 20217 May 2021

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Joint Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS
ISSN (Print)1548-8403
ISSN (Electronic)1558-2914


Conference20th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Explainable agents
  • Personal virtual advisor
  • Reason explanation
  • Behaviour change intention
  • Working alliance
  • Trust


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