The Power of Negative Feedback from an Artificial Agent to Promote Energy Saving Behavior

  • Cees Midden
  • Jaap Ham
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8520)


In this paper we analyze the role of negative feedback as provided by artificial agents. We examine the hypothesis that negative feedback offers substantial potential to enhance persuasive interventions aimed to change behavior. This hypothesis is tested based on a review of several studies using the same experimental paradigm that includes a virtual washing machine, in which users have to make choices how to program the washing machine. The studies show how the provision of positive and negative feedback influences these choices under various experimental conditions. Results show that negative feedback can be more effective than positive feedback, also independent of the presence of positive feedback. Negative feedback is in particular effective when the feedback is social instead of factual. Furthermore, the analysis suggests that the effect of negative feedback is enhanced under conditions of task similarity, which stimulate using the feedback for performance improvement. Finally, we show that negative feedback is superior to positive feedback under multiple goals conditions.


Persuasive technology artificial social agents social evaluation sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cees Midden
    • 1
  • Jaap Ham
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Human-Technology InteractionEindhoven University of TechnologyEindhovenThe Netherlands

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