Do We Differ in Our Dispositional Tendency to Perceive Virtual Agents as Animate Beings?

The Influence of User Factors in the Evaluation of Virtual Agents
  • Benny Liebold
  • Daniel Pietschmann
  • Peter Ohler
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9171)


With few exceptions, the role of user factors in the evaluation of virtual agents has largely been neglected. By taking them into account properly, researchers and virtual agent developers might be able to better understand interindividual differences in virtual agent evaluations. We propose the animacy attribution tendency as a novel user factor that assesses a users individual threshold to accept virtual entities as living and animate beings. Users scoring higher in animacy attribution tendency should accept anomalies in virtual agent behavior more easily and thus provide favorable evaluations. To investigate the impact of this novel concept along with other user factors, we first developed a test to assess interindividual differences of animacy attribution and subsequently carried out an online-study, during which participants had to evaluate video recordings of different virtual agents.


Virtual agent Agent evaluation Animacy User factors 



This study was partially funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) under grant 1760 (“CrossWorlds: Connecting Virtual and Real Social Worlds”). We thank Kevin Pfeffel and Yannik Augustin for their help in the creation of the stimuli.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Benny Liebold
    • 1
  • Daniel Pietschmann
    • 1
  • Peter Ohler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Media ResearchChemnitz University of TechnologyChemnitzGermany

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