Comparing mind perception in strategic exchanges: human-agent negotiation, dictator and ultimatum games

Minha Lee (Corresponding author), Gale Lucas, Jonathan Gratch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Recent research shows that how we respond to other social actors depends on what sort of mind we ascribe to them. In a comparative manner, we observed how perceived minds of agents shape people’s behavior in the dictator game, ultimatum game, and negotiation against artificial agents. To do so, we varied agents’ minds on two dimensions of the mind perception theory: agency (cognitive aptitude) and patiency (affective aptitude) via descriptions and dialogs. In our first study, agents with emotional capacity garnered more allocations in the dictator game, but in the ultimatum game, agents’ described agency and affective capacity, both led to greater offers. In the second study on negotiation, agents ascribed with low-agency traits earned more points than those with high-agency traits, though the negotiation tactic was the same for all agents. Although patiency did not impact game points, participants sent more happy and surprise emojis and emotionally valenced messages to agents that demonstrated emotional capacity during negotiations. Further, our exploratory analyses indicate that people related only to agents with perceived affective aptitude across all games. Both perceived agency and affective capacity contributed to moral standing after dictator and ultimatum games. But after negotiations, only agents with perceived affective capacity were granted moral standing. Manipulating mind dimensions of machines has differing effects on how people react to them in dictator and ultimatum games, compared to a more complex economic exchange like negotiation. We discuss these results, which show that agents are perceived not only as social actors, but as intentional actors through negotiations, in contrast with simple economic games.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-214
Number of pages14
JournalJournal on Multimodal User Interfaces
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • Dictator game
  • Mind perception theory
  • Robot
  • Theory of mind, human-agent negotiation
  • Ultimatum game
  • Virtual agent


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