ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

心理科学进展 ›› 2023, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (4): 669-683.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2023.00669

• 研究前沿 • 上一篇    下一篇


磨然1, 方作之4,#, 方建东1,2,3()   

  1. 1广西师范大学教育学部心理学系, 桂林 541006
    2广西师范大学认知神经科学与应用心理广西高校重点实验室, 桂林 541006
    3广西高校人文社会科学重点研究基地广西民族教育发展研究中心, 桂林 541006
    4陕西师范大学心理学院, 西安 710000
  • 收稿日期:2022-06-11 出版日期:2023-04-15 发布日期:2022-12-30
  • 通讯作者: 方建东
  • 作者简介:第一联系人:# 为并列第一作者。
  • 基金资助:

How to establish a digital therapeutic alliance between chatbots and users: The role of relational cues

MO Ran1, FANG Zuozhi4,#, FANG Jiandong1,2,3()   

  1. 1Department of Psychology, Faculty of Education, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin 541006, China
    2Guangxi University and College Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Applied Psychology, Guangxi Normal University, Guilin 541006, China
    3Guangxi Ethnic Education Development Research Center, Key research base of Humanities and Social Sciences in Guangxi Universities, Guilin 541006, China
    4School of Psychology, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi’an 710062, China
  • Received:2022-06-11 Online:2023-04-15 Published:2022-12-30
  • Contact: FANG Jiandong


近年来, 研究者们将“治疗联盟” (Therapeutic Alliance, TA)的概念与在线自助干预(Internet-based Self-help Interventions, ISIs)相结合, 以解决ISIs中用户参与度较低的问题。这种在数字环境中形成的TA, 被称之为“数字治疗联盟” (Digital Therapeutic Alliance, DTA)。随着人工智能的迅速发展, 聊天机器人可模拟人类指导, 相对于传统ISIs程序更易于与用户建立关系, 可通过友好、尊重、倾听、鼓励、真诚、理解、信任这几个关系线索来促进DTA的发展, 为解决用户低参与度的问题提供了一种新思路。未来的研究可从影响因素、ISIs技术迭代、测量规范、实验操纵等方面对DTA作进一步的探索。

关键词: 数字治疗联盟, 聊天机器人, 关系线索


Recently, the rapid development of Internet technology has constantly promoted the digital process of the mental health industry. Internet-based self-help interventions (ISIs) have gradually become an effective supplement to traditional psychological counseling/psychotherapy. Although the feasibility and effectiveness of ISIs have been widely verified, some problems, such as low user engagement and high dropout rate in the actual application process, affect the quality and efficiency of ISIs. To solve the above problems, researchers began to combine the concept of the therapeutic alliance (TA) with ISIs and tried to establish TA with users in a digital environment by using applications to promote user engagement. This TA formed in a digital environment is called a digital therapeutic alliance (DTA). The gap between the natural language conversation ability of chatbots and human beings has gradually narrowed due to the continuous breakthrough of artificial intelligence technology. Compared with traditional ISI programs, chatbots are more likely to develop real social relations with human beings. This study proposes to embed chatbots in ISI programs and use personified chatbots with emotion recognition and interaction capabilities to establish and develop DTAs with users to make up for the lack of human guidance in ISIs to some extent. Also, this study integrates multidisciplinary theories such as mind perception theory, social cue reduction theory, the investment model of personal relationships, and self-determination theory. These theories are useful as follows: first, to build a model from the perspective of human-computer interaction (HCI); second, to explore the influencing factors and mechanisms in the process of establishing DTA between chatbots and users from both cognitive and emotional aspects; and lastly, to put forward several design features of chatbots that are conducive to strengthening DTA. Specifically, we can design relational cues for chatbots based on the facilitation factors of TA in traditional psychological counseling/psychotherapy, such as making chatbots show the characteristics of amiability, respectfulness, listening, encouragement, sincere comprehension, and mutual trust. The users can have a positive cognitive and emotional experience and establish and develop high-quality DTAs with them. This scheme not only helps chatbots improve artificial wisdom but also provides a new way to solve the problem of low user engagement, promotes the development of HCI and DTA theories, and advances the intelligent process of digital mental health in China. In addition to a more rigorous investigation of the factors that affect DTA, future research should consider how to integrate advanced technologies in computer science into ISIs to optimize the user experience of ISIs and promote the development of DTA, prepare a special scale based on the particularity of ISIs types and scenes, and unify the measurement specifications. It is also necessary to test the influence of different therapies and subjects, such as age, sex, symptoms, and other factors, on DTA in ISIs.

Key words: digital therapeutic alliance, chatbot, relational cues