Dating a synthetic character is like dating a man

Johan F. Hoorn*, Elly A. Konijn, Matthijs A. Pontier

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


To evaluate our emotionally intelligent software, we put a virtual human capable of speech and facial expressions to an updated and enriched version of the traditional Turing test. In a speed-date with 54 young females, either our software or human confederates controlled the simulation of the virtual human’s affective performance. Results were obtained with frequentist analysis and Bayesian structural equation modeling. Indeed, participants did not detect differences and observed similarity in the emotional behavior of the virtual human and in the way it assumingly perceived them. Additionally, participants did not recognize different but similar cognitive-affective structures between humans and our system. As is, designers may use our software for believable affective virtual humans or robots. Moreover, as far as the richness of interaction possibilities in the speed-dating session allowed, our software seems to reproduce human cognitive-affective structures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-253
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
Issue number2
Early online date31 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


  • Affective computing
  • Bayesian analysis
  • Cognitive models
  • Social agents
  • Turing test


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