ELIZA is an automated psychoanalysis program based on the psychoanalytic principle of repeating what the patient says and drawing introspection out the patient without adding content from the analyst.

Weizenbaum invented ELIZA more or less as an intellectual exercise to show that it could be done. He was disturbed to see it used in serious psychological settings. He believed a computer program shouldn't be used as a substitute for a human function that requires interpersonal respect, understanding, and love. Thus, he rejected its use, not because it was technically flawed, but on ethical grounds.


Weizenbaum, J., "ELIZA -- A computer program for the study of natural language communication between man and machine", Communications of the ACM 9(1):36-45, 1966.

In response to many requests, sites to locate downloadable versions of ELIZA can be found at:

Last updated 97/11/24
Edited by J.A.N. Lee, 1997. ©, H. Rex Hartson, 1995.