Individuals are increasingly recognising the importance of healthy eating and its effects on well-being. However, many find it difficult to eat healthily, leading to negative outcomes such as diabetes and obesity. Personalised messages have previously been shown to impact positive health behaviour, and so may be used to promote healthy eating habits. Researchers have investigated the personalisation of messages by adapting which of the widely used Cialdini principles of persuasion should be applied. The number of Cialdini principles is limited, and so the question arises as to whether the far more detailed and structured logical statements commonly used in everyday dialogue, i.e., argumentation schemes, could be used to provide finer-grained personalisation.
In our previous studies, we manually created and validated messages for each Cialdini principle (which was extremely time-consuming). Since argumentation schemes have a definite structure with easily modifiable variables, it may be easier to automate the process of message creation after the initial validation of message types. In addition, variables can be substituted with alternatives that can help in building a large corpus of messages that can be used by, for example, intelligent healthy eating trainer software.
Our primary research objective is to automate personalised persuasive messages that will be able to sustain behaviour change. This could be achieved by incorporating Cialdini's principles of persuasion and argumentation schemes. Argumentation schemes are rules leading from assumptions to conclusions that are often found in everyday dialogues. In this work, we illustrate the system built based on the mapped argumentation schemes.
The mapping of Cialdini’s principles to the argumentation schemes is summarised below. We developed a message generation system using this mapping as its foundation. Given below is an explanation of one of the argumentation schemes.