Connecting Social Psychology and Deep Reinforcement Learning: A Probabilistic Predictor on the Intention to Do Home-Based Physical Activity After Message Exposure

Patrizia Catellani, Valentina Carfora, Marco Piastra

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


Previous research has shown that sending personalized messages consistent with the recipient's psychological profile is essential to activate the change toward a healthy lifestyle. In this paper we present an example of how artificial intelligence can support psychology in this process, illustrating the development of a probabilistic predictor in the form of a Dynamic Bayesian Network (DBN). The predictor regards the change in the intention to do home-based physical activity after message exposure. The data used to construct the predictor are those of a study on the effects of framing in communication to promote physical activity at home during the Covid-19 lockdown. The theoretical reference is that of psychosocial research on the effects of framing, according to which similar communicative contents formulated in different ways can be differently effective depending on the characteristics of the recipient. Study participants completed a first questionnaire aimed at measuring the psychosocial dimensions involved in doing physical activity at home. Next, they read recommendation messages formulated with one of four different frames (gain, non-loss, non-gain, and loss). Finally, they completed a second questionnaire measuring their perception of the messages and again the intention to exercise at home. The collected data were analyzed to elicit a DBN, i.e., a probabilistic structure representing the interrelationships between all the dimensions considered in the study. The adopted procedure was aimed to achieve a good balance between explainability and predictivity. The elicited DBN was found to be consistent with the psychosocial theories assumed as reference and able to predict the effectiveness of the different messages starting from the relevant psychosocial dimensions of the recipients. In the next steps of our project, the DBN will form the basis for the training of a Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) system for the synthesis of automatic interaction strategies. In turn, the DRL system will train a Deep Neural Network (DNN) that will guide the online interaction process. The discussion focuses on the advantages of the proposed procedure in terms of interpretability and effectiveness.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
RivistaFrontiers in Psychology
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2021


  • Dynamic Bayesian Network
  • home-based physical activity
  • intention change
  • message framing
  • probabilistic predictor


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