Sin-hwa Kang, Jonathan Gratch: “Associations between Interactants’ Personality Traits and Their Feelings of Rapport in Interactions”

May 25, 2009 | Chicago, IL

Speaker: Jonathan Gratch, Sin-hwa Kang
Host: International Communication Association Conference 2009

This study explored associations between the personality traits of human subjects and theirfeelings of rapport when they interacted with either a virtual agent or a real human. The animated graphical agent, the Responsive Agent, responded to real human subjects’ storytelling behavior, using appropriately timed nonverbal (contingent) feedback. Interactants’ personality factors of Extroversion, Agreeableness, Conscientiousness, and Openness were related to three self-reported components of rapport: Positivity, Attentiveness, and Coordination; and to three behavioral indications of rapport: Meaningful Words, Disfluency, and Prolonged Words. The results revealed that subjects who scored higher on Conscientiousness reported higher rapport when interacting with another human, while subjects who scored higher on Agreeableness reported higher rapport while interacting with a virtual agent. The effects of these personality variables differed significantly across the two experimental groups. The conclusions provide a step toward further development of rapport theory that contributes to enhancing the interactional fidelity of virtual humans.