Direct and Mediated Interaction with a Holocaust Survivor
The New Dimensions in Testimony dialogue system was placed in two museums under two distinct conditions: docent-led group interaction, and free interaction with visitors. Analysis of the resulting conversations shows that docent-led interactions have a lower vocabulary and a higher proportion of user utterances that directly relate to the system’s subject matter, while free interaction is more personal in nature. Under docent-led interaction the system gives a higher proportion of direct appropriate responses, but overall correct system behavior is about the same in both conditions because the free interaction condition has more instances where the correct system behavior is to avoid a direct response.
We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their comments. The first author was supported by the National Science Foundation under grant 1560426, “REU Site: Research in Interactive Virtual Experiences” (PI: Evan Suma). The second author was supported in part by the U.S. Army; statements and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the position or the policy of the United States Government, and no official endorsement should be inferred. This work is based on materials from New Dimensions in Testimony—a collaboration between the USC Institute for Creative Technologies, the USC Shoah Foundation, and Conscience Display, which was made possible by generous donations from private foundations and individuals. We are extremely grateful to The Pears Foundation, Louis F. Smith, and two anonymous donors for their support, and to the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum for hosting the exhibit. We owe special thanks to Pinchas Gutter for sharing his story, and for his tireless efforts to educate the world about the Holocaust.
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