First Impressions: Users’ Judgments of Virtual Agents’ Personality and Interpersonal Attitude in First Encounters

  • Angelo Cafaro
  • Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson
  • Timothy Bickmore
  • Dirk Heylen
  • Kamilla Rún Jóhannsdóttir
  • Gunnar Steinn Valgarðsson
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7502)


In first encounters people quickly form impressions of each other’s personality and interpersonal attitude. We conducted a study to investigate how this transfers to first encounters between humans and virtual agents. In the study, subjects’ avatars approached greeting agents in a virtual museum rendered in both first and third person perspective. Each agent exclusively exhibited nonverbal immediacy cues (smile, gaze and proximity) during the approach. Afterwards subjects judged its personality (extraversion) and interpersonal attitude (hostility/friendliness). We found that within only 12.5 seconds of interaction subjects formed impressions of the agents based on observed behavior. In particular, proximity had impact on judgments of extraversion whereas smile and gaze on friendliness. These results held for the different camera perspectives. Insights on how the interpretations might change according to the user’s own personality are also provided.


first impressions personality traits interpersonal attitude empirical evaluation nonverbal behavior camera perspectives 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelo Cafaro
    • 1
  • Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson
    • 1
  • Timothy Bickmore
    • 4
  • Dirk Heylen
    • 5
  • Kamilla Rún Jóhannsdóttir
    • 2
  • Gunnar Steinn Valgarðsson
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.School of Computer ScienceCenter for Analysis and Design of Intelligent AgentsIceland
  2. 2.School of BusinessReykjavik UniversityIceland
  3. 3.Icelandic Institute for Intelligent MachinesReykjavikIceland
  4. 4.College of Computer and Information ScienceNortheastern UniversityUSA
  5. 5.Human Media InteractionUniversity of TwenteThe Netherlands

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