Peter Khooshabeh, Cade McCall, Jonathan Gratch, James Blascovich: “Does it matter if a computer jokes?”

May 2, 2011 | Vancouver, British Columbia

Speaker: Peter Khooshabeh, Cade McCall, Jonathan Gratch, James Blascovich
Host: ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2011)

The goal here was to determine whether computer interfaces are capable of social influence via humor. Users interacted with a natural language capable virtual agent that told persuasive information, and they were given the option to use information from the dialogue in order to complete a problem-solving task. Individuals interacting with an ostensibly humorous virtual agent were influenced by it such that those who judged the agent unfunny were less likely to be persuaded and departed from the agent’s suggestions. We discuss the implications of these results for HCI involving natural language systems and virtual agents.