Specifying and testing the design rationale of social robots for behavior change in children

Rosemarijn Looije*, Mark A. Neerincx, Koen V. Hindriks

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


We are developing a social robot that helps children with diabetes Type 1 to acquire self-management skills and routines. There is a diversity of Behavior Change Techniques (BCTs) and guidelines that seem to be useful for the development of such support, but it is not yet clear how to work out the techniques into concrete robot support functions and behaviors. The situated Cognitive Engineering (sCE) methodology provides guidance for the design and evaluation of such functions and behaviors, but doesn't provide a univocal specification method of the theoretical and empirical justification. This paper presents an extension of sCE: a formal template that describes the relations between support objectives, behavior change theory, design specifications and evaluation outcomes, called situated Design Rationale (sDR) and the method to get this. As test case, the European ALIZ-e project is used to instantiate this design rationale and to evaluate the usage. This case study showed that sDR provides concrete guidance (1) to derive robot functions and behaviors from the theory and (2) to designate the corresponding effects with evaluation instruments. Furthermore, it helps to establish an effective, incremental and iterative, design and evaluation process, by relating positive and negative evaluation outcomes to robot behaviors at the task and communication level. The proposed solution for explicating the design rationale makes it possible for others to understand the decisions made and thereby supports replicating experiments or reusing parts of the design rationale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-265
Number of pages16
JournalCognitive Systems Research
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive engineering
  • Design rationale
  • Diabetes
  • Social robot


Dive into the research topics of 'Specifying and testing the design rationale of social robots for behavior change in children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this