Virtually bad: A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track

Tibor Bosse, Tilo Hartmann, Marco Otte, Romy A.M. Blankendaal, Linford Goedschalk, Nienke Dokter

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This paper introduces the concept of "virtual bad guys": intelligent virtual agents that take a negative or even aggressive stance towards the user. Although they pave the way to various interesting applications, it is hard to create virtual bad guys that are taken seriously by the user, since they are typically unable to apply serious sanctions. To address this issue, this study experimentally investigated the effect of "consequential" agents that are able to physically threaten their human interlocutors. A consequential agent was developed by equipping users with a (non-functioning) device, through which they were made to believe the agent could mildly shock them. Effects on participants' levels of anxiety and (physiological and self-reported) stress were measured, and the role of presence and perceived believability of the virtual agent was assessed. The consequential agent triggered a stronger physiological stress response than the non- consequential agent, whereas self-reported levels of anxiety and stress did not significantly differ. Furthermore, while presence and believability were substantially associated with users' stress response, both states did not mediate or explain the effect of a consequential vs. non-consequential agent on stress, as they did not significantly differ between conditions. Implications of these findings and suggestions for follow-up studies on "virtual bad guys" are discussed.

LanguageEnglish
Title of host publication17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018
PublisherInternational Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS)
Pages1258-1266
Number of pages9
Volume2
ISBN (Print)9781510868083
StatePublished - 2018
Event17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018 - Stockholm, Sweden
Duration: 10 Jul 201815 Jul 2018

Conference

Conference17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018
CountrySweden
CityStockholm
Period10/07/1815/07/18

Fingerprint

Intelligent virtual agents

Keywords

  • Aggression
  • Human-agent interaction
  • Stress
  • Virtual reality

Cite this

Bosse, T., Hartmann, T., Otte, M., Blankendaal, R. A. M., Goedschalk, L., & Dokter, N. (2018). Virtually bad: A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track. In 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018 (Vol. 2, pp. 1258-1266). International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS).
Bosse, Tibor ; Hartmann, Tilo ; Otte, Marco ; Blankendaal, Romy A.M. ; Goedschalk, Linford ; Dokter, Nienke. / Virtually bad : A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track. 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018. Vol. 2 International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS), 2018. pp. 1258-1266
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title = "Virtually bad: A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track",
abstract = "This paper introduces the concept of {"}virtual bad guys{"}: intelligent virtual agents that take a negative or even aggressive stance towards the user. Although they pave the way to various interesting applications, it is hard to create virtual bad guys that are taken seriously by the user, since they are typically unable to apply serious sanctions. To address this issue, this study experimentally investigated the effect of {"}consequential{"} agents that are able to physically threaten their human interlocutors. A consequential agent was developed by equipping users with a (non-functioning) device, through which they were made to believe the agent could mildly shock them. Effects on participants' levels of anxiety and (physiological and self-reported) stress were measured, and the role of presence and perceived believability of the virtual agent was assessed. The consequential agent triggered a stronger physiological stress response than the non- consequential agent, whereas self-reported levels of anxiety and stress did not significantly differ. Furthermore, while presence and believability were substantially associated with users' stress response, both states did not mediate or explain the effect of a consequential vs. non-consequential agent on stress, as they did not significantly differ between conditions. Implications of these findings and suggestions for follow-up studies on {"}virtual bad guys{"} are discussed.",
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Bosse, T, Hartmann, T, Otte, M, Blankendaal, RAM, Goedschalk, L & Dokter, N 2018, Virtually bad: A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track. in 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018. vol. 2, International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS), pp. 1258-1266, 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018, Stockholm, Sweden, 10/07/18.

Virtually bad : A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track. / Bosse, Tibor; Hartmann, Tilo; Otte, Marco; Blankendaal, Romy A.M.; Goedschalk, Linford; Dokter, Nienke.

17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018. Vol. 2 International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS), 2018. p. 1258-1266.

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

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Bosse T, Hartmann T, Otte M, Blankendaal RAM, Goedschalk L, Dokter N. Virtually bad: A study on virtual agents that physically threaten human beings: Socially interactive agents track. In 17th International Conference on Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems, AAMAS 2018. Vol. 2. International Foundation for Autonomous Agents and Multiagent Systems (IFAAMAS). 2018. p. 1258-1266.