Media Equation Revisited: Do Users Show Polite Reactions towards an Embodied Agent?
In human-computer interaction social behavior towards computers like flattery, reciprocity, and politeness have been observed. In order to determine whether the results can be replicated when interacting with embodied conversational agents
(ECA), we conducted an experimental study. 63 participants evaluated the ECA Max after a 10-minute conversation. The interview situation was manipulated in three conditions: Being questioned by Max himself, being questioned by paper-and-pencil questionnaire in the same room facing Max, and being questioned by means of a paper-and-pencil questionnaire in another room. Results show that participants were more polite to the ECA in terms of a better evaluation when they were questioned by Max himself compared to when they were questioned more indirectly by paper-and-pencil questionnaire in the same room. In contrast to previous studies it was ruled out that some participants thought of the programmer when they were asked to evaluate the ECA. Additionally, user variables (e.g. gender, computer literacy) show an impact on the on the evaluation of the ECA