Are People Polite to Computers?: Responses to Computer-based Interviewing Systems
Division of Research, Harvard Business School, 1998 - 16 pages
The present studies were designed to test whether people are "polite" to computers. The tendency for people to engage in polite, "socially desirable" behavior in interpersonal interaction has been well-documented in the social psychological literature: An interviewer who directly asks about him-or herself will receive more positive and less varied responses than if the same question is posed by a third party. Two experiments were designed to determine if the same phenomenon occurs in human-computer interaction. In the first experiment (N = 30), participants performed a task with a text-based computer, and were then interviewed about the performance of that computer on one of three loci: 1) the same computer; 2) a paper-and-pencil questionnaire; 3) a different (but identical) text-based computer. Consistent with the politeness prediction, same-computer participants evaluated the computer more positively and more homogeneously than did either paper-and-pencil or different-computer participants. Experiment 2 (N = 30) replicated the results with voice-based computer(s). Implications for computer-based interviewing are discussed.
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12 questions 20 facts adjectives associated between-subjects change their answers column of Table computer asked COMPUTER CONDITION computer interviewer computer present Computer SC computer-based interviewing systems computer's performance cues degrees of freedom demand characteristics different-computer condition evaluator sessions experimental factor scores fifth column font fourth column freedom equal gave more positive Heterogeneity of items homogeneous responses human human-computer interaction informed consent initial computer interviewer-based bias involves Martin & Nagao modality explanation normative response bias paper-and paper-and-pencil condition paper-and-pencil participants paper-and-pencil questionnaire participants answered participants gave significantly Participants were told polite behavior polite to computers politeness prediction positive responses post-experimental debriefs Reeves & Nass replicated respect to computer respond socially same-computer condition same-computer participants gave significantly more homogeneous social desirability effect social psychological socially desirable response Standard Deviations t-statistic tor Mean task text-based computer three conditions Turkle tutoring session two-tailed type of social visual characteristics voice-based computers