Abstract

Loneliness among older adults is a problem with severe consequences to individual health, quality of life, cognitive capacity, and life-expectancy. Although approaches towards improving the quality and quantity of social relationships are the prevailing model of therapy, older adults may not always be able to form these relationships due to either personality factors, decreased mobility, or isolation. Intelligent personal assistants (IPAs), virtual agents, and social robotics offer an opportunity for the development of technology that could potentially serve as social companions to older adults. The present study explored whether an IPA could potentially be used as a social companion to older adults feeling lonely. Additionally, the research explored whether the device has the potential to generate social presence among both young and older adults. Results indicate that while the devices do show some social presence, participants rate the device low on some components of social presence, such as emotional contagion. This adversely affects the possibility of a social relationship between an older adult and the device. Analysis reveals ways to improve social presence in these devices.

Thesis Completion

2017

Semester

Spring

Thesis Chair

Smither, Janan

Degree

Bachelor of Science (B.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Psychology

Degree Program

Psychology

Location

Orlando (Main) Campus

Language

Enlgish

Access Status

Campus Access

Length of Campus-only Access

1 year

Release Date

May 2018

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