How the Agent's Gender Influence Users’ Evaluation of a QA System

International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr), December 13-15, 2010. Selangor, Malaysia.

5 Pages Posted: 19 Apr 2017

See all articles by Andreea Niculescu

Andreea Niculescu

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) - Institute for Infocomm Research

Dennis Hofs

Human Media Interaction (HMI)

Betsy van Dijk

Human Media Interaction (HMI)

Anton Nijholt

Human Media Interaction (HMI)

Date Written: December 13, 2010

Abstract

In this paper we present the results of a pilot study investigating the effects of agents’ gender-ambiguous vs. gendermarked look on the perceived interaction quality of a multimodal question answering system. Eight test subjects interacted with three system agents, each having a feminine, masculine or gender-ambiguous look. The subjects were told each agent was representing a differently configured system. In fact, they were interacting with the same system. In the end, the subjects filled in an evaluation questionnaire and participated in an in-depth qualitative interview. The results showed that the user evaluation seemed to be influenced by the agent’s gender look: the system represented by the feminine agent achieved on average the highest evaluation scores. On the other hand, the system represented by the gender-ambiguous agent was systematically lower rated. This outcome might be relevant for an appropriate agent look, especially since many designers tend to develop gender-ambiguous characters for interactive interfaces to match various users’ preferences. However, additional empirical evidence is needed in the future to confirm our findings.

Keywords: anthropomorphic agents, gender-ambigous vs. gender-marked look, user studies

JEL Classification: C89, C99

Suggested Citation

Niculescu, Andreea and Hofs, Dennis and van Dijk, Betsy and Nijholt, Anton, How the Agent's Gender Influence Users’ Evaluation of a QA System (December 13, 2010). International Conference on User Science and Engineering (i-USEr), December 13-15, 2010. Selangor, Malaysia., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2954317

Andreea Niculescu

Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) - Institute for Infocomm Research ( email )

1 Fusionopolis Way
#16-16 Connexis
Singapore, 138632
Singapore

Dennis Hofs

Human Media Interaction (HMI) ( email )

Drienerlolaan 5
Enschede, NB 7522
Netherlands

Betsy Van Dijk (Contact Author)

Human Media Interaction (HMI) ( email )

Drienerlolaan 5
Enschede, NB 7522
Netherlands

Anton Nijholt

Human Media Interaction (HMI) ( email )

Drienerlolaan 5
Enschede, NB 7522
Netherlands

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