The Persona Zero-Effect: Evaluating virtual character benefits on a learning task

Jan Miksatko, Kerstin H. Kipp, Michael Kipp

In: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents. International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA-10) 10th September 20-22 Philadelphia PA United States Springer 2010.


Embodied agents have the potential to become a highly natural human-computer interaction device (they are already is use as tutors, presenters and assistants). However, it remains an open question whether adding an agent to an application has a measurable impact, positive or negative, in terms of motivation and learning performance. Prior studies are very diverse with respect to design, statistical power and outcome; and repeated interactions are rarely considered. We present a controlled user study of a vocabulary trainer application that evaluates the effect on motivation and learning performance. Subjects interacted either with a no-agent and with-agent version in a between-subjects design in repeated sessions. As opposed to prior work (e.g. Persona Effect), we found neither positive nor negative effects on motivation and learning performance, i.e. a Persona Zero-Effect. This means that adding an agent does not benefit the performance but also, does not distract.

Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz
German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence