Virtual rapport with extraverted agents

Jacqueline Elaine Brixey, University of Texas at El Paso


Studies from psychology conclude that “birds of a feather flock together”- or, in other words, people tend to seek companionship with those who have a similar personality to their own. Researchers in the fields of Linguistics and Psychology have found numerous markers that differentiate the dialogue of extroverts from that of introverts. Recent work in Human Computer Interaction has sought to understand the nature of creating and maintaining rapport between humans and Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs). Seeking an interdisciplinary approach that combines knowledge from HCI, Linguistics, and Psychology, I sought to establish whether introverted users report the highest level of rapport when matched with a similarly introverted agent or with an extraverted agent. This understanding can establish a paradigm for creating the highest level of rapport between humans and ECAs from verbal interaction. Questions that I answered include: (1) Will all subjects establish a level of rapport with the extraverted agent? (2) Will extraverted subjects matched with an introverted agent show the lowest level of rapport? (3) If all subjects establish rapport with the extraverted agent, will subjects report the highest level of rapport when interacting with the agent whose extraversion level matches that of the subject? Two agents representing an extrovert and an introvert were created by manipulating three dialogue features. Using a task-oriented but informal setting, participants interacted with an agent in an immersive environment. Responses from participants to a 16-question survey were reviewed using statistical analysis. New exploratory work using qualitative analysis to four free-response questions in the same survey give new insights into both how humans interpret levels of extraversion, and what this means in terms of human-ECA interactions. I report the results of the study’s observations and propose directions for future work.

Subject Area

Linguistics|Psychology|Computer science

Recommended Citation

Brixey, Jacqueline Elaine, "Virtual rapport with extraverted agents" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000818.