User Perceptions of a Virtual Human Over Mobile Video Chat Interactions

  • Sin-Hwa KangEmail author
  • Thai Phan
  • Mark Bolas
  • David M. Krum
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9733)


We believe that virtual humans, presented over video chat services, such as Skype, and delivered using smartphones, can be an effective way to deliver innovative applications where social interactions are important, such as counseling and coaching. To explore this subject, we have built a hardware and software apparatus that allows virtual humans to initiate, receive, and interact over video calls using Skype or any similar service. With this platform, we conducted two experiments to investigate the applications and characteristics of virtual humans that interact over mobile video. In Experiment 1, we investigated user reactions to the physical realism of the background scene in which a virtual human was displayed. In Experiment 2, we examined how virtual characters can establish and maintain longer term relationships with users, using ideas from Social Exchange Theory to strengthen bonds between interactants. Experiment 2 involved repeated interactions with a virtual human over a period of time. Both studies used counseling-style interactions with users. The results demonstrated that males were more attracted socially to a virtual human that was presented over a realistic background than a featureless background while females were more socially attracted to a virtual human with a less realistic featureless background. The results further revealed that users felt the virtual human was a compassionate partner when they interacted with the virtual human over multiple calls, rather than just a single call.


Virtual humans Smartphones Video chats Counseling coaches 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sin-Hwa Kang
    • 1
    Email author
  • Thai Phan
    • 1
  • Mark Bolas
    • 1
  • David M. Krum
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Creative TechnologiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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