Developing CIRCA-BC and exploring the role of the computer as a third participant in conversation

Barbara A. Purves*, Alison Phinney, Wendy Hulko, Gloria Puurveen, Arlene J. Astell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The Computer Interactive Reminiscence Conversation Aid (CIRCA) is a software program using touch screen technology and digital materials from public archives to support conversation between people with dementia and their carers. In this 2-phase study, we first worked with seniors' focus groups to identify and select relevant content for a regional adaptation of CIRCA (British Columbia version of CIRCA [CIRCA-BC]). We then pilot tested CIRCA-BC with 3 participants having dementia and a conversation partner, analyzing their interactions to explore how they drew on program content and format to shape their conversations together. Findings provide insight into, first, how participants' shared and distinct social histories influence reminiscence-based conversations and, second, how the computer can be viewed as a third "participant" in the interaction. These findings offer guidelines for ongoing adaptation and application of the CIRCA program in addition to contributing further evidence regarding the role of technology in facilitating meaningful interaction between people with dementia and their carers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-107
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Alzheimer's Disease and other Dementias
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes

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