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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Patient Education and Counseling
Title of proceedings Patient Education and Counseling


Objective: To influence health behavior, communication has to be relevant on an individual level and, thus, fulfill the requirement of premissary relevance. This paper attempts to enrich the design of automated health advisors by, first, reviewing main solutions to the challenge of premissary relevance found in the literature and, second, highlighting the value of the theory of argumentation known as pragma-dialectics for identifying communication strategies for behavior change. Methods: A conceptual paper grounded in persuasion and argumentation theory. Results: Automated health advisors enable argumentative exchanges. But there is a need to design these systems as to make them work in an audience-centered perspective. The theory of argumentation known as pragma-dialectics can be used to analyze the factors that favor or hinder the resolution of a difference of opinion in interactions. Conclusion: Pragma-dialectics is a promising theory for the design of automated heath advisors as it captures the dialogical nature of the reasoning process that can influence health behavior. Practice implications: Premissary relevance is a challenge of health promotion at large that can be addressed through sinergies among health communication, artificial intelligence, persuasion research and argumentation theory.