Get One or Create One: the Impact of Graded Involvement in a Selection Procedure for a Virtual Agent on Satisfaction and Suitability Ratings
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N = 86 participants were either confronted with a predefined virtual agent, or could select a virtual agent from predefined sets of six or 30 graphical models, or had the opportunity to self-customize the agent’s appearance more freely. We investigated the effect of graded user involvement in the selection procedure on their ratings of satisfaction with the agent and perceived task suitability. In a second step, we explored the psychological mechanism underlying this effect. Statistical analyses revealed that satisfaction with the chosen virtual agent increased with the degree of participants’ involvement in terms of more choice, but not in terms of self-customization. Furthermore, we show that this effect was driven by the perceived likeability, attractiveness, and competence of the agent. We discuss implications of our results for the development of a virtual agent serving as a virtual assistant in a smart home environment.
KeywordsTechnology acceptance Virtual agents Customization Smart home
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