The Maternal Problem-Solving project is an ISI collaboration with clinical psychologists at six pediatric cancer centers around the country. The CARTE team is creating an interactive multimedia computer program to teach a problem-solving methodology called Bright Ideas. Carmen's Bright Ideas uses an animated narrative to introduce the problems of Carmen, mother of a 9-year-old son, recently diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, and a 5-year-old daughter.


Carmen's Bright IDEAS has been field tested in clinical trials in cancer centers around the United States. Participants in the trial felt that CBI helped them remember the steps of the Bright IDEAS problem solving method, and helped them understand how to apply Bright IDEAS to their own problems. They felt that the story prsentation was believable, interesting, and convincing. In our follow-on work, we plan to deliver a version of Gina, Carmen's counselor, on a handheld device, that will prompt mothers to apply the Bright IDEAS technique in their daily lives.


Interactive Pedagogical Drama, Emotional Modeling


  • W. Lewis Johnson
  • Stacy Marsella
  • Catherine M. LaBore
  • Joe Chiu
  • Jamison Moore
  • Brett Rutland
  • Teresa Dey
  • Dr. O.J. Sahler, University of Rochester


  • Univ. of Rochester Medical Center
  • National Cancer Institute



  • Marsella, S., W. L. Johnson, and Catherine M. LaBore, Interactive Pedagogical Drama for Health Interventions. In 11th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, Australia, 2003

  • Marsella, S., Jonathan Gratch, and Jeff Rickel, Expressive Behaviors for Virtual Worlds. In Helmut Prendinger and Mitsuru Ishizuka (Editors), Life-like Characters Tools, Affective Functions and Applications. Springer Cognitive Technologies Series, 2003

  • Marsella, S., W. L. Johnson, and C. M. LaBore, Interactive Pedagogical Drama. In Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Autonomous Agents, Agents 2000