Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
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Sociable Technology, Anthropomorphism, Agency, Social Presence, Human-Computer Interaction, HCI, Human-Robot Interaction, HRI
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With the arrival of personal assistants and other AI-enabled autonomous technologies, social interactions with smart devices have become a part of our daily lives. Therefore, it becomes increasingly important to understand how these social interactions emerge, and why users appear to be influenced by them. For this reason, I explore questions on what the antecedents and consequences of this phenomenon, known as anthropomorphism, are as described in the extant literature from fields ranging from information systems to social neuroscience. I critically analyze those empirical studies directly measuring anthropomorphism and those referring to it without a corresponding measurement. Through a grounded theory approach, I identify common themes and use them to develop models for the antecedents and consequences of anthropomorphism. The results suggest anthropomorphism possesses both conscious and non-conscious components with varying implications. While conscious attributions are shown to vary based on individual differences, non-conscious attributions emerge whenever a technology exhibits apparent reasoning such as through non-verbal behavior like peer-to-peer mirroring or verbal paralinguistic and backchanneling cues. Anthropomorphism has been shown to affect users’ self-perceptions, perceptions of the technology, how users interact with the technology, and the users’ performance. Examples include changes in a users’ trust on the technology, conformity effects, bonding, and displays of empathy. I argue these effects emerge from changes in users’ perceived agency, and their self- and social- identity similarly to interactions between humans. Afterwards, I critically examine current theories on anthropomorphism and present propositions about its nature based on the results of the empirical literature. Subsequently, I introduce a two-factor model of anthropomorphism that proposes how an individual anthropomorphizes a technology is dependent on how the technology was initially perceived (top-down and rational or bottom-up and automatic), and whether it exhibits a capacity for agency or experience. I propose that where a technology lays along this spectrum determines how individuals relates to it, creating shared agency effects, or changing the users’ social identity. For this reason, anthropomorphism is a powerful tool that can be leveraged to support future interactions with smart technologies.
Pineda, Jose, "Perceiving Sociable Technology: Exploring the Role of Anthropomorphism and Agency Perception on Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)" (2021). FIU Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 4610.
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