Would you Follow my Instructions if I was not Human? Examining Obedience towards Virtual Agents

Tanja Schneeberger; Sofie Ehrhardt; Manuel Anglet; Patrick Gebhard

In: 8th International Conference on Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII). Affective Computing and Intelligent Interaction (ACII-2019), September 3-6, Cambridge, United Kingdom, IEEE, 2019.


Virtual agents play an important role when we interact with machines. They are in the role of assistants or companions with less or more human-like appearance. Such agents influence our behavior. With an increasing and broader distribution, their influence might become stronger, and at some point, they might even adopt roles with a degree of authority. This paper presents the results of a study that examines the obedience of human users towards a) an embodied virtual agent in the role of an instructor and b) a human in the role of an instructor. Under a cover-story of a creativity test, participants should fulfill stressful and shameful tasks. Our results indicate that the embodied virtual agent has the same authority as the human instructor. The agent is also able to elicit the same level of the negative feelings stress and shame.


ACII_102.pdf (pdf, 6 MB )

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence