Advancements in computer technology have allowed the development of human-appearing and -behaving virtual agents. This study examined if increased richness and anthropomorphism in interface design lead to computers being more influential during a decision-making task with a human partner. In addition, user experiences of the communication format, communication process, and the task partner were evaluated for their association with various features of virtual agents. Study participants completed the Desert Survival Problem (DSP) and were then randomly assigned to one of five different computer partners or to a human partner (who was a study confederate). Participants discussed each of the items in the DSP with their partners and were then asked to complete the DSP again. Results showed that computers were more influential than human partners but that the latter were rated more positively on social dimensions of communication than the former. Exploratory analysis of user assessments revealed that some features of human-computer interaction (e.g. utility and feeling understood) were associated with increases in anthropomorphic features of the interface. Discussion focuses on the relation between user perceptions, design features, and task outcomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Human-Computer Interaction