Comparing behavior towards humans and virtual humans in a social dilemma

August 26, 2015 | Delft, Netherlands

Speaker: Jonathan Gratch
Host: Fifteenth International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA 2015)

Although virtual agents have become more realistic over time, however does this mean that the behavior of humans against virtual agents is similar to that against real humans? During this study the social behavior of participants was studied within an “iterated prisoner’s dilemma” scenario, while playing against either human or “virtual human” opponents. The virtual humans that were used during these studies are three-dimensional embodied agents rendered on a computer and are capable of displaying facial expressions and other animations. The displayed behavior against these virtual humans was compared with that shown against other humans. This study was done at the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, using an existing framework that allows participants to play the prisoner’s dilemma against each other. This framework was adapted to allow participants to play the prisoner’s dilemma against an autonomous virtual human using a specific strategy. The studies showed that there is significant difference in how people treat a virtual human compared to a real human. People will display less social behavior towards virtual human than against human opponents. These results offer several possible ways to explore that might improve and advance the behavior of virtual humans in order to receive more social treatment.