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Recommended by Google Home

The Effects of Gender Stereotypes and Conformity When Interacting with Voice Assistants

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HCI International 2021 - Posters (HCII 2021)

Part of the book series: Communications in Computer and Information Science ((CCIS,volume 1419))

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Voice-enabled personal assistants like Google Home have been adopted by the masses (Hoy 2018). As speech is the main channel for communication between humans (Flanagan 1972) and is an innate human behavior (Pinker 1994), interacting with a voice interface is intuitive and easy (Cohen et al. 2004). Studies conducted under the Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm indicate that speech-output and interactivity are two main factors to elicit social reactions in users (Nass et al. 1993). Users have been shown to adopt human principles like conformity and gender stereotypes when interacting with computers (Nass and Moon 2000).

As voice assistants are able to send social cues, we assumed that subjects would show social reactions towards a Google Home smart speaker. Focussing on the social norm of conformity, we measured if participants show more conformal behavior towards the voice assistant depending on their own gender and the gender of the assistants’ voice.

A laboratory experiment with 62 participants was conducted. Participants interacted with a Google Home speaker that either used a male or a female voice to present them with different social dilemma situations. In addition, the voice assistant always argued for participants to choose the less likely (as determined in a pretest) of two possible choices presented.

Results show a significant interaction effect on conformity between voice assistant gender and participant gender. Female participants chose significantly more options recommended by a female voice assistant meaning female participants did show conformal behavior. Regarding gender stereotypes, the voice assistant was rated differently by participants depending on the gender of its voice. A female assistant was rated as significantly warmer while a male assistant was rated to be significantly more competent in line with previous findings on gender stereotypes in human-human communication (Spence and Helmreich 1979).

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Correspondence to Florian Schneider .

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Schneider, F. (2021). Recommended by Google Home. In: Stephanidis, C., Antona, M., Ntoa, S. (eds) HCI International 2021 - Posters. HCII 2021. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1419. Springer, Cham.

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  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-78634-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-78635-9

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)

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