Zhu, Boqi Supervisor: Prof. Gudrun Klinker Advisor: Eghtebas, Nassim (@ga53xoy) Submission Date: [created]
In recent years virtual agents have become more and more popular. Research on the influence virtual avatars have on Users is also getting increasing interest, especially nowadays during the COVID-19 Pandemic where in-person contact has decreased and more people spend time online. In this paper, we will discuss ways people can be subconsciously influenced, with a focus on how they can be influenced by a virtual agent through synchronization. We will focus on our experiment where we will explore the influence a virtual agent can have on decisions a player is taking during a game. Ten participants played our game where they roleplayed as a cop, interrogating two suspects which were avatars. Our game included two different types of decisions, intermediary text decisions, and an overall ending decision. Unfortunately, we could not confirm our hypothesis that the avatar influenced the player through synchronization. While we had evidence that the intermediary text decisions, which were morally ambiguous, were influenced by the synchronization of our avatar we can not exclude the possibility of other influencing factors like the gender of the avatars. Another reason for our negative result could be that our experiment had limitations, flaws and we had only little data available. Even though we could not confirm that the avatar influenced the player's decision, we believe our experiment lays a foundation for subsequent experiments.
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