The illusion of agency : The influence of the agency of an artificial agent on its persuasive power

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Abstract

Abstract. Artificial social agents can influence people. However, artificial social agents are not real humans, and people may ascribe less agency to them. Would the persuasive power of a social robot diminish when people ascribe only little agency to it? To investigate this question, we performed an experiment in which participants performed tasks on a washing machine and received feedback from a robot about their energy consumption (e.g., "Your energy consumption is too high"), or factual, non-social feedback. This robot was introduced to participants as (a) an avatar (that was controlled a human in all its feedback actions; high agency), or as (b) an autonomous robot (that controlled its own feedback actions; moderate agency), or as (c) a robot that produced only random feedback; low agency). Results indicated that participants consumed less energy when a robotic social agent gave them feedback than when they received non-social feedback. This behavioral effect was independent of the level of robotic agency. In contrast, a perceived agency measure indicated that the random feedback robot was ascribed the lowest agency rating. These results suggest that the persuasive power of robot behavior is independent of the extent to which the persuadee explicitly ascribes agency to the agent.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPersuasive 2012: Design for Health and Safety. The 7th International conference on persuasive technology, 6-8 June 2012, Linkoping, Sweden
EditorsM. Bang, E.L. Ragnemalm
Place of PublicationBerlijn
PublisherSpringer
Pages90-99
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Event7th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2012) - Linköping, Sweden
Duration: 6 Jun 20128 Jun 2012
Conference number: 7

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science
Volume7284
ISSN (Print)0302-9743

Conference

Conference7th International Conference on Persuasive Technology (PERSUASIVE 2012)
Abbreviated titlePERSUASIVE 2012
CountrySweden
CityLinköping
Period6/06/128/06/12
Other"Persuasive Technology: Design for Health and Safety"

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    Midden, C. J. H., & Ham, J. R. C. (2012). The illusion of agency : The influence of the agency of an artificial agent on its persuasive power. In M. Bang, & E. L. Ragnemalm (Eds.), Persuasive 2012: Design for Health and Safety. The 7th International conference on persuasive technology, 6-8 June 2012, Linkoping, Sweden (pp. 90-99). (Lecture Notes in Computer Science; Vol. 7284). Springer.