User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction

, Volume 13, Issue 1–2, pp 89–132 | Cite as

Negotiated Collusion: Modeling Social Language and its Relationship Effects in Intelligent Agents

  • Justine Cassell
  • Timothy Bickmore


Building a collaborative trusting relationship with users is crucial in a wide range of applications, such as advice-giving or financial transactions, and some minimal degree of cooperativeness is required in all applications to even initiate and maintain an interaction with a user. Despite the importance of this aspect of human–human relationships, few intelligent systems have tried to build user models of trust, credibility, or other similar interpersonal variables, or to influence these variables during interaction with users. Humans use a variety of kinds of social language, including small talk, to establish collaborative trusting interpersonal relationships. We argue that such strategies can also be used by intelligent agents, and that embodied conversational agents are ideally suited for this task given the myriad multimodal cues available to them for managing conversation. In this article we describe a model of the relationship between social language and interpersonal relationships, a new kind of discourse planner that is capable of generating social language to achieve interpersonal goals, and an actual implementation in an embodied conversational agent. We discuss an evaluation of our system in which the use of social language was demonstrated to have a significant effect on users’ perceptions of the agent’s knowledgableness and ability to engage users, and on their trust, credibility, and how well they felt the system knew them, for users manifesting particular personality traits.

dialogue embodied conversational agent small talk social interface trust 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Andersen, P. and Guerrero, L.: 1998, The Bright Side of Relational Communication: Interpersonal Warmth as a Social Emotion. In: P. Andersen and L. Guerrero (eds.), Handbook of Communication and Emotion, New York: Academic Press, pp. 303–329.Google Scholar
  2. Andre, E., Muller, J. and Rist, T.: 1996, The PPP Persona: A Multipurpose Animated Presentation Agent, Advanced Visual Interfaces, ACM Press, pp. 245–247.Google Scholar
  3. Ardissono, L., Boella, G. and Lesmo, L.: 1999, Politeness and speech acts, Proceedings of the Workshop on Attitudes, Personality and Emotions in User-Adapted Interaction at the 7th International Conference on User Modeling (UM’ 99), Banff, Canada.Google Scholar
  4. Argyle, M.:1990, The biological basis of rapport. Psychological Inquiry, 1, 297–300.Google Scholar
  5. Bagchi, S., Biswas, G. and Kawamura, K.: 1996, Interactive task planning under uncertainty and goal changes. Robotics and Autonomous Systems, 18, 157–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ball, G. and Breese, J.: 2000, Emotion and Personality in a Conversational Agent. In: J. Cassell, J. Sullivan, S. Prevost and E. Churchill (eds.), Embodied Conversational Agents. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p. 189–219.Google Scholar
  7. Berscheid, E. and Reis, H.: 1998, Attraction and Close Relationships. In: D. Gilbert, S. Fiske and G. Lindzey (eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology, New York: McGraw-Hill, pp. 193–281.Google Scholar
  8. Beskow, J. and McGlashan, S.: 1997, Olga - A Conversational Agent with Gestures, Proceedings of the IJCAI’97 Workshop on Animated Interface Agents - Making them Intelligent, August 1997, Nagoya, Japan.Google Scholar
  9. Brown, J.R. and Rogers, E.L.: 1991, Openness, Uncertainty and Intimacy: An epistemological reformulation. In: N. Coupland, H. Giles and J.M. Wiemann (eds.), Miscommunication and problematic talk, Newbury Park, CA: Sage, pp. 146–165.Google Scholar
  10. Brown, P. and Levinson, S.: 1978, Universals in language usage: Politeness phenomena. In: E. Goody (ed.), Questions and Politeness: Strategies in Social Interaction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 56–311.Google Scholar
  11. Brown, R. and Gilman, A.: 1972, The pronouns of power and solidarity. In: P. Giglioli (ed.), Language and Social Context, Harmondsworth: Penguin., pp. 252–282.Google Scholar
  12. Brown, R. and Gilman, A.: 1989, Politeness theory and Shakespeare’s four major tragedies. Language in Society, 18, 159–212.Google Scholar
  13. Buck, R.: 1993, The spontaneous communication of interpersonal expectations. In: P.D. Blanck (ed.), Interpersonal expectations: Theory, research, and applications, New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 227–241.Google Scholar
  14. Cassell, J. and Bickmore, T.: 2000, External Manifestations of Trustworthiness in the Interface. Communications of the ACM, 43(12), 50–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cassell, J., Bickmore, T., Billinghurst, M., Campbell, L., Chang, K., Vilhjalmsson, H. and Yan, H.,1999, Embodiment in Conversational Interfaces: Rea, Proceedings of CHI 99 Pittsburgh, PA, pp. 520–527.Google Scholar
  16. Cassell, J., Bickmore, T., Vilhjàlmsson, H. and Yan, H.: 2000, More Than Just a Pretty Face: Affordances of Embodiment, Proceedings of IUI 2000, New Orleans, Louisiana, pp. 52–59.Google Scholar
  17. Cassell, J., Sullivan, J., Prevost, S. and Churchill, E.: 2000, Embodied Conversational Agents. Cambridge: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  18. Castelfranchi, C. and de Rosis, F.: 1999, Which User Model do we need, to relax the hypothesis of ‘sincere Assertion’ in HCI?, Proceedings of the Workshop on Attitudes, Personality and Emotions in User-Adapted Interaction at the 7th International Conference on User Modeling (UM’ 99), Banff, Canada.Google Scholar
  19. Cegala, D., Waldro, V., Ludlum, J., McCabe, B., Yost, S. and Teboul, B.: 1988, A study of interactants’ thoughts and feelings during conversation., Ninth Annual Conference on Discourse Analysis, Philadelphia, PA.Google Scholar
  20. Cheepen, C.: 1988, The Predictability of Informal Conversation. New York: Pinter.Google Scholar
  21. Clark, H.H.: 1996, Using Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  22. Dehn, D.M. and van Mulken, S. (in press): The Impact of Animated Interface Agents: A Review of Empirical Research. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 51, pp. 1–22.Google Scholar
  23. Depaulo, B. and Friedman, H.: 1998, Nonverbal Communication. In: D. Gilbert, S. Fiske and G. Lindzey (eds.), The Handbook of Social Psychology, Boston: McGraw-Hill, pp. 3–40.Google Scholar
  24. Drummond, M. and Bresina, J.: 1990, Anytime synthetic projection: Maximizing the probability of goal satisfaction, AAAI-90, pp. 138–144.Google Scholar
  25. Fikes, R. and Nilsson, N.: 1971, STRIPS: A new approach to the application of theorem proving to problem solving. Artificial Intelligence, 5(2), 189–208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Fogg, B.J.: 1999, Persuasive Technologies, Communications of the ACM, Vol. 42, pp. 27–29.Google Scholar
  27. Fogg, B.J. and Tseng, H.: 1999, The Elements of Computer Credibility, CHI 99, Pittsburgh, PA: ACM Press, pp. 80–87.Google Scholar
  28. Goetz, P.: 1997, Attractors in Recurrent Behavior Networks. PhD Thesis, State University of New York at Buffalo.Google Scholar
  29. Goffman, I.: 1967, On face-work, Interaction Ritual: Essays on Face-to-Face Behavior, New York: Pantheon, pp. 5–46.Google Scholar
  30. Grice, P.: 1989, Studies in the Way of Words, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Hanks, S.: 1994, Discourse Planning: Technical Challenges for the Planning Community., AAAI Workshop on Planning for Inter-Agent Communication. Seattle, WA.Google Scholar
  32. Jaworski, A. and Coupland, N.: 1999, The Discourse Reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Jefferson, G.: 1978, Sequential aspects of storytelling in conversation. In: J. Schenkein (ed.), Studies in the organization of conversational interaction, New York: Academic Press, pp. 219–248.Google Scholar
  34. Lester, J., Voerman, J., Towns, S. and Callaway, C.: 1999, ‘Deictic Believability: Coordinating Gesture, Locomotion, and Speech in Lifelike Pedagogical Agents’. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 13(4-5), 383–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Maes, P.: 1989, How to do the right thing. Connection Science Journal, 1(3), 291–323.Google Scholar
  36. Malinowski, B.: 1923, The problem of meaning in primitive languages. In: C.K. Ogden and I.A. Richards (eds.), The Meaning of Meaning, Routledge & Kegan Paul, pp. 296–336.Google Scholar
  37. Mark, G. and Becker, B.: 1999, Designing believable interaction by applying social conventions. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 13, 297–320.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Moon, Y.: 1998, Intimate self-disclosure exchanges: Using computers to build reciprocal relationships with consumers. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Business School. Report: 99-059.Google Scholar
  39. Morkes, J., Kernal, H. and Nass, C.: 1998, Humor in Task-Oriented Computer-Mediated Communication and Human-Computer Interaction, CHI 98, Los Angeles, CA: ACM Press, pp. 215–216.Google Scholar
  40. Nass, C. and Lee, K.: 2000, Does Computer-Generated Speech Manifest Personality? An Experimental Test of Similarity-Attraction, CHI 2000, The Hague, Amsterdam: ACM Press, pp. 329–336.Google Scholar
  41. Oviatt, S.: 1996, User-Centered Modeling for Spoken Language and Multimodal Interfaces. IEEE MultiMedia, 1996, 26–35.Google Scholar
  42. Pautler, D.: 1998, A Computational Model of Social Perlocutions, COLING/ACL, Montreal.Google Scholar
  43. Picard, R.: 1997, Affective Computing. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, p. 1020–1026.Google Scholar
  44. Reeves, B. and Nass, C.: 1996, The Media Equation: how people treat computers, televisions and new media like real people and places. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  45. Resnick, P.V. and Lammers, H.B.: 1985, The Influence of Self-esteem on Cognitive Responses to Machine-Like Versus Human-Like Computer Feedback. The Journal of Social Psychology, 125(6), 761–769.Google Scholar
  46. Rich, C. and Sidner, C.L.: 1997, COLLAGEN: When Agents Collaborate with People, Autonomous Agents 97, Marina Del Rey, CA, pp. 284–291.Google Scholar
  47. Rich, E.: 1979, User Modeling via Stereotypes. Cognitive Science, 3, 329–354.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Rickel, J. and Johnson, W.L.: 1998, Animated Agents for Procedural Traning in Virtual Reality: Perception, Cognition and Motor Control. Applied Artificial Intelligence, 13(4-5), 343–382.Google Scholar
  49. Rickenberg, R. and Reeves, B.: 2000, The Effects of Animated Characters on Anxiety, Task Performance, and Evaluations of User Interfaces, CHI 2000, The Hague, Amsterdam, pp. 49–56.Google Scholar
  50. Sacks, H.: 1995, Lectures on Conversation. Oxford: BlackwellGoogle Scholar
  51. Schneider, K.P.: 1987, Topic selection in phatic communication. Multilingua, 6(3), 247–256.Google Scholar
  52. Schneider, K.P.: 1988, Small Talk: Analysing Phatic Discourse. Marburg: Hitzeroth.Google Scholar
  53. Searle, J.:1969, Speech Acts: An essay in the philosophy of language: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Spencer-Oatey, H.:1996, Reconsidering power and distance. Journal of Pragmatics, 26, 1–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Stone, M. and Doran, C.: 1997, Sentence Planning as Description Using Tree-Adjoining Grammar, ACL Madrid, Spain: MIT Press, pp. 198–205.Google Scholar
  56. Svennevig, J.:1999, Getting acquainted in Conversation. Philadephia: John Benjamins.Google Scholar
  57. Thorisson, K.R.:1997, Gandalf: An Embodied Humanoid Capable of Real-Time Multimodal Dialogue with People, Autonomous Agents’ 97, p. 536–537, Marina del Rey, CA.Google Scholar
  58. Tracy, K. and Coupland, N.:1991, Multiple goals in discourse: An overview of issues. In: K. Tracy and N. Coupland (eds.), Multiple goals in discourse Clevedon: Multilingual Matters, pp. 1–13.Google Scholar
  59. Ward, N.:1997, Responsiveness in Dialog and Priorities for Language Research. Systems and Cybernetics, Special Issue on Embodied Artificial Intelligence, 28, 521–533.Google Scholar
  60. Wheeless, L. and Grotz, J.:1977, The Measurement of Trust and Its Relationship to Self-Disclosure. Human Communication Research, 3(3), 250–257.Google Scholar
  61. Wiggins, J.:1979, A psychological taxonomy of trait-descriptive terms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 37(3), 395–412.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Justine Cassell
    • 1
  • Timothy Bickmore
    • 1
  1. 1.MIT Media LabCambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations