A Taxonomy of Social Cues for Conversational Agents

When using the taxonomy, please cite as Feine, J., Gnewuch U., Morana S. and Maedche A. (2019): “A Taxonomy of Social Cues for Conversational Agents” International Journal of Human-Computer Studies. To read the paper, please click here.

Social cue: Strength of language
Communication system: Verbal
Cue category: Style
Cue Description
The messages of the CA range from strong and assertive statements to submissive and equivocal statements.
Cue example
Strong and assertive language (e.g., “you should definitely do this”, “you have to do this”) or submissive and equivocal language (e.g., “perhaps you should do this”).
Cue impact
An agent using strong language in form of assertions and commands is perceived as having a dominant personality (Nass et al. 1995; Moon, Nass 1996; Moon, Nass 1998; Nass, Moon 2000; Isbister, Nass 2000; Fogg 2003). Also, outgoing and assertive statements are perceived as being more extroverted (Hess et al. 2005) and users in a job interview are more willing to confide in and listen to a virtual interviewer with a serious, assertive personality (Li et al. 2017). Moreover, assertive language is perceived as less polite (Mayer et al. 2006). An agent using weaker language in form of suggestions and questions is perceived as having a less dominant personality (Nass et al. 1995; Moon, Nass 1996; Moon, Nass 1998; Nass, Moon 2000; Isbister, Nass 2000; Fogg 2003). Also, timid and unassuming sentences are perceived as more introverted (Hess et al. 2005). Guarded suggestions and statements expressing a common goal are perceived as positive politeness (Mayer et al. 2006). Expressed confidence for the solution of tasks influences perceived personality type of an agent (Nass et al. 1995; Moon, Nass 1996; Moon, Nass 1998; Fogg 2003)
Reference List
1. Fogg, B. J. (2003). Computers as persuasive social actors. In Persuasive Technology. Elsevier, pp. 89-120.
2. Isbister, K., & Nass, C. (2000). Consistency of personality in interactive characters: Verbal cues, non-verbal cues, and user characteristics. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (53:2), pp. 251-267.
3. Li, J., Zhou, M. X., Yang, H., & Mark, G. (2017). Confiding in and Listening to Virtual Agents. In G. A. Papadopoulos, T. Kuflik, F. Chen, C. Duarte, & W.-T. Fu (Eds.), Proceedings of the 22nd International Conference on Intelligent User Interfaces - IUI 17 (pp. 275-286). New York, New York, USA: ACM Press.
4. Mayer, R. E., Johnson, W. L., Shaw, E., & Sandhu, S. (2006). Constructing computer-based tutors that are socially sensitive: Politeness in educational software. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF HUMAN-COMPUTER STUDIES (64:1), pp. 36-42.
5. Moon, Y., & Nass, C. (1996). How “Real” Are Computer Personalities? COMMUNICATION RESEARCH (23:6), pp. 651-674.
6. Moon, Y., & Nass, C. (1998). Are computers scapegoats?: Attributions of responsibility in human-computer interaction. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (49:1), pp. 79-94.
7. Nass, C., & Moon, Y. (2000). Machines and Mindlessness: Social Responses to Computers. Journal of Social Issues (56:1), pp. 81.
8. Nass, C., Moon, Y., Fogg, B. J., Reeves, B., & Dryer, D.C. (1995). Can computer personalities be human personalities? International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (43:2), pp. 223-239.
9. Cassell, J. and K. R. Thorisson (1999). ?The power of a nod and a glance: Envelope vs. emotional feedback in animated conversational agents? Applied Artificial intelligence 13 (4-5), 519?538.