Caring for Vincent: a chatbot for self-compassion

Minha Lee, S.C.A. Ackermans, N.L. van As, H. Chang, E.M. Lucas, Wijnand IJsselsteijn

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

91 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


The digitization of mental health care holds promises of affordable and ubiquitously available treatment, e.g., with conversational agents (chatbots). While technology can guide people to care for themselves, we examined how people can care for another being as a way to care for themselves.We created a self-compassion chatbot (Vincent) and compared between caregiving and care-receiving conditions. Care-giving Vincent asked participants to partake in self-compassion exercises. Care-receiving Vincent shared its foibles, e.g., embarrassingly arriving late at an IP address, and sought out advice. While self-compassion increased for both conditions, only those with care-receiving Vincent significantly improved. In tandem, we offer qualitative data on how participants interacted with Vincent. Our exploratory research shows that when a person cares for a chatbot, the person’s selfcompassion can be enhanced. We further reflect on design implications for strengthening mental health with chatbots.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCHI 2019 - Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-5970-2
Publication statusPublished - 2 May 2019
Event37th ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019 - Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 May 20199 May 2019
Conference number: 37


Conference37th ACM Annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2019
Abbreviated titleCHI 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • chatbot
  • well-being
  • compassion
  • self-compassion
  • Conversational agents
  • digital healthcare
  • e-Health
  • human-chatbot interaction


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