Call: “Embodied Agents for Wellbeing” issue of International Journal of Social Robotics

Call for Papers

International Journal of Social Robotics (IJSR)
– Impact Factor 5.126 (2020)
Special issue:

Submission deadline: November 30, 2022

The current COVID-19 pandemic has led to societal changes (such as social isolation and work-from-home arrangements) that have severely impacted the mental wellbeing of the worldwide population, causing depressive and anxiety symptoms. This need has resulted in a greater interest in technology-based interventions to support people and promote their mental wellbeing.

Embodied agents (e.g., virtual agents, robots) are finding their way into helping to improve their wellbeing and are currently being designed and evaluated for various applications, such as, among others, therapeutic interventions, and medical treatments.

Making an embodied agent suitable to promote wellbeing is still an open challenge. Indeed, embodied agents need to engage in social interactions with humans by communicating, cooperating, and making decisions, as well as take into account humans’ social cues to convey more natural and smoother interactions. Those agents also need to analyse, understand and appropriately respond and adapt to human behaviour and affective states to connect with humans empathically using nonverbal cues – e.g., facial expressions, posture – that support and add meaning to their verbal communication.

However, due to the lack of publicly available large scale datasets obtained over longer periods of time, embodied agents are very limited in their capabilities to address those challenges. This often increases the risk of user disappointment and dissatisfaction, which are key factors for a successful wellbeing intervention.

Within this context, the fields of psychology, social signal processing, affective computing, and human-agent interaction require continuous collaboration. This research topic aims to promote such cross-disciplinary cooperation by bringing together the most recent findings from a variety of research groups working in these areas.

The Special Issue is associated with the HRI4Wellbeing workshop which will take place on September 2nd, 2022, at the 31th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN 2022).

The Special issue has already opened and will stay open until November 30th, 2022. You can submit to the special issue without submitting to/attending the workshop – but of course we encourage you to do both! All submitted papers will be reviewed as soon as they are received and accepted papers will be published online whilst the complete Special Issue is published.

The topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • Embodied agent design for wellbeing
  • Socially assistive robots for wellbeing
  • Affective robotics and virtual agents for wellbeing
  • Affective cognitive architectures
  • User studies for wellbeing (both in lab and field)
  • Adaptation and personalization for wellbeing applications
  • Machine learning for wellbeing
  • Concept papers on embodied agents for wellbeing
  • Methods to measure wellbeing
  • Ethics, privacy, data security and responsible innovation considerations
  • Modelling users and user behaviours in wellbeing interventions
  • Modelling robot behaviours to promote wellbeing
  • Methodological challenges for achieving successful wellbeing interventions via human-agent interaction (HAI)
  • Metrics for evaluating wellbeing and agent intervention outcomes

Instructions to submit your paper to the Special Issue:

When submitting your paper to the International Journal of Social Robotics via the Editorial Manager, you will be asked if your paper belongs to a special issue; please select YES as an answer. At this point, a pull-down menu will appear, and you will be able to choose the title of the special issue, select “Embodied Agents For Wellbeing.”

Besides selecting the Special Issue upon submission, you should also specify in your cover letter that you wish to submit your manuscript to the special issue “Embodied Agents For Wellbeing.”

Please, feel free to contact us should you need further information about the special issue.

The Guest Editors:
Dr. Micol Spitale (Lead guest editor):
Dr. Katie Winkle:
Prof. Emilia Barakova:
Prof. Hatice Gunes:

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