Sin-hwa Kang, Jonathan Gratch: “The Effect of Avatar Realism of Virtual Humans on Self-Disclosure in Anonymous Social Interactions”

April 10, 2010 | Atlanta, GA

Speaker: Sin-hwa Kang, Jonathan Gratch
Host: 28th ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2010)

In this paper, we illustrate progress in research designed to investigate interactants’ self-disclosure when they communicate with virtual humans or real humans in computer-mediated interactions. We explored the effect of the combination of avatar realism and interactants’ anticipated future interaction (AFI) on self-disclosure in emotionally engaged and synchronous interaction. We primarily aimed at exploring ways to promote interactants’ self-disclosure while securing their visual anonymity, even with minimal cues of virtual humans, when interactants anticipate future interaction. The research examined interactants’ self-disclosure through measuring their verbal behaviors. The preliminary findings indicated that interactants revealed greater intimate information about themselves in interactions with virtual humans than with real humans. However, interactants’ AFI did not affect their self-disclosure, which does not correspond to the results of previous studies using text based interfaces.