Persuasive Agents

The goal of the “Persuasive Agents”-project is to develop novel techniques for persuading the members of a household to save energy. To this purpose teams of psychologists (Eindhoven) and computer scientists (Tilburg) collaborate with Smart Homes, the Dutch Expertise Centre on Home Automation & Smart Living.

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Contact Info

drs. Maaike Roubroeks
Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
P.O. Box 513


Maaike Roubroeks has a background in psychology. She graduated with a BSc in "Cognitive Psychology and specialized with an MSc in "Experimental Health Psychology", from Maastricht University in 2007. After graduating she worked for several months as a research assistant in Maastricht at two projects (i.e. eating behavior, and self-control & self-awareness), where she acquired some additional practical experience in experimental research. As of the 1st of May, she started her position as Ph.D. Student at Eindhoven University of Technology. The focus in het Ph.D. project is automatic social-behavior to non-human actors. Her first accomplishment was to win the best student paper award at Persuasive 2009.

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Conference proceeding
Roubroeks, M., Ham, J., & Midden, C. (2010). The dominant robot: Threatening robots cause psychological reactance, especially when they have incongruent goals. In T. Ploug, P. Hasle, & H. Onias-Kukkonen (Eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science: Vol. 6137. Persuasive Technology (pp. 174-184). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag. doi:10.1007/978-3-642-13226-1_18.

Roubroeks, M., Midden, C., & Ham, J. (2009). Does it make a difference who tells you what to do? Exploring the effect of social agency on psychological reactance. In S. Chatterjee, & P. Dev (Eds.), Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (Art. 15). New York, NY: ACM. doi:10.1145/1541948.1541970

Journal papers
Roubroeks, M., Ham, J., & Midden, C. (2011). When artificial social agents try to persuade people: The role of social agency on the occurrence of psychological reactance. International Journal of Social Robotics. Advanced online publication. doi:10.1007/s12369-010-0088-1.

Role in project

The intent of this project is to develop Persuasive Agents that provide members of a household with feedback and suggestions. To persuade people from changing their behavior, an important part involves the user-agent interaction. Previous research (Reeves & Nass, 1996) suggested that people react automatically social to non-human actors. Maaike investigates the underlying processes of these social reactions.