Feeling cared for has profound effects on physiology, cognition and emotional state, and has significant health ramifications whether the source of this feeling is an intimate other, friend or health provider. Unfortunately, not everyone has access to social networks populated with caring individuals or has health providers who are patient, empathic and reliably available when emotional support is needed. Over the last decade, a range of computational artifacts and technologies have been developed that could help fill this unmet need in many peoples' lives. Caring machines are technologies that interact with an individual to accomplish a goal while also behaving in ways that give the individual the feeling of being cared for. This chapter presents evidence that these machines can begin to lead to significant health benefits, such as increased adherence to prescribed health behavior change and medication regimens.
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