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MindMentor, the first robot psychologist

People affected by emotional problems are often reluctant when they're told to see a psychologist. Now, they can confidentially consult online MindMentor, the first robot psychologist. It will cost them €4.95 for one hour session (or about US$7.65 as of today). MindMentor has been developed by two Dutch psychologists specialized in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). The system was tested on 1,600 'customers' from over the world and 47% of them said they were satisfied after only one session. I haven't tested the system myself, but one thing is really interesting. Instead of looking at a database, MindMentor uses a personal process to discover the right solution with you. But read more...
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Written by Roland Piquepaille, Inactive on

People affected by emotional problems are often reluctant when they're told to see a psychologist. Now, they can confidentially consult online MindMentor, the first robot psychologist. It will cost them €4.95 for one hour session (or about US$7.65 as of today). MindMentor has been developed by two Dutch psychologists specialized in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). The system was tested on 1,600 'customers' from over the world and 47% of them said they were satisfied after only one session. I haven't tested the system myself, but one thing is really interesting. Instead of looking at a database, MindMentor uses a personal process to discover the right solution with you. But read more...

MindMentor, the first robot psychologist

You can see above several images of MindMentor, your future RoboCoach, welcoming you or scratching its head when solving your psychological problems. (Credit: MindMentor's screen shots)

This 'robocoach' has been designed by two clinical psychologists Jaap Hollander and Jeffrey Wijnberg, from the Institute for Eclectic Psychology (IEP) in the Netherlands (Note: the site has no English version). Here is the official site of MindMentor -- which is entirely in English.

Can an interactive session with an artificial intelligence robotic agent be successful? The two psychologists think so. "Some psychologists thought it was impossible -- and some still think so -- but it actually works. People solve their problems and attain their life goals with MindMentor’s help. In 2006, Hollander and Wijnberg did a test-run with 1600 clients from all over the world. Results showed that MindMentor was able to solve the problems for 47% in just one session, a score that any real life psychologist would be proud of."

And MindMentor doesn't work alone. It has several 'colleagues.' "The absolutely unique feature of MindMentor is, that there is no real psychologist working behind the scene, but that MindMentor, by asking smart questions, addresses the unconscious mental resources of the client. With help from his colleagues RoboRorschach (projective testing) and ProvoBot (provocative humor), MindMentor can provide a solution or new perspective in a session of about an hour."

As the MindMentor process takes about an hour, it's difficult to summarize it. Anyway, here is a general description of what MindMentor does. "Many people think that MindMentor has a database with a list of problems and solutions. They think that when you enter your problem, MindMentor looks up the right solution from his list. But that's not how he works. MindMentor guides you through a process (a series of steps) to help you find solutions within yourself. Psychologists have found that your own solutions are more effective than other people's advice, no matter how well meant. MindMentor starts this process by asking you what problem you'd like to work on."

And MindMentor helps you uncover unconscious knowledge. "Your unconscious mind is a warehouse full of useful knowledge. Through his colleague RoboRorschach, MindMentor helps you uncover information that you have on a deeper level. He shows you pictures and has you describe what you think and feel. First, this helps you understand some deeper aspects of your problem. Later on, this 'projective work' gives you a deeper understanding of the solution you have found."

But MindMentor can't cure all affections, like this page states. "MindMentor will work with any type of problem or goal. He works best with problems like stress, family problems, relationship problems, motivation problems, life mission questions, sleepless nights, worrying, conflicts with friends or colleagues, et cetera. He cannot cure severe disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, hard drug addiction, et cetera."

Finally, I have a question for you: would you trust a computer algorithm to counsel you about a psychological problem? Please drop me a note.

Sources: MindMentor news release, March 10, 2008; and MindMentor websites

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