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Etiquette and Efficacy in Animated Pedagogical Agents: The Role of Stereotypes

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  1. Etiquette and Efficacy in Animated Pedagogical Agents: The Role of Stereotypes Kristen N. Moreno,1 Natalie K. Person,2 Amy B. Adcock,1 Richard N. Van Eck,1 G. Tanner Jackson,1 Johanna C. Marineau1 1University of Memphis 2Rhodes College

  2. Agents in Learning Technology • Computerized tutoring systems are becoming more widely used in many settings • Recent enhancements include the addition of animated agents as tutors • Agents can be programmed to behave in accordance with social expectations • How do agents affect learning?

  3. Etiquette in ITSs • Failure to conform to social expectations: breach of etiquette • Reeves & Nass (1996): people apply rules of human interaction to computers • Rules of etiquette facilitate social interactions among humans • Could affect human-computer interactions

  4. AutoTutor • An intelligent tutoring system developed by Tutoring Research Group at University of Memphis • Tutors college students in physics and computer literacy • The agent is intended to facilitate human-computer interactions

  5. Agents’ Effects on HCI • Agents do not facilitate all types of learning • Agents could potentially annoy or distract learners • Important to understand the factors that determine the effects of agents on human-computer interaction

  6. Agent Characteristics • May vary in race, age, gender, or other demographics • Expectations for their behavior may vary with these characteristics • Expectations may be based on stereotypes

  7. The Role of Stereotypes • Mental device that simplifies social environment • Stereotypes offer information about members of certain social groups • But information is often wrong • Still, people use them frequently (even if often unintentionally)

  8. Stereotyping Agents? • Do people’s stereotypic expectations about agents affect pedagogical efficacy? • Failure to conform to stereotypic expectations could be a breach of etiquette • Conforming too closely to stereotype could also constitute a breach of etiquette

  9. Our Research Questions • Do people stereotype agents? • Do stereotypes of agents affect pedagogical efficacy? • Participants formed impressions of agents who were apparently members of certain social groups • Agent delivered tutorial on blood pressure • Assessed stereotypic perceptions, learning

  10. Participants and Design • Participants: 39 Introductory Psychology University of Memphis students (69% female) • Design: 2x2x2 between-subjects • Agent ethnicity: African-American or Caucasian • Agent sex: male or female • Participant ethnicity

  11. Agents • 4 agents created using Poser 4 • Different agents to manipulate sex • To manipulate ethnicity, changed several physical features across agents (within genders) • Recorded live voices

  12. Procedure • All materials presented on computer by Macromedia Authorware • Participants wore headphones (groups of 1 to 10 people) • Agent first gave navigation instructions • Stereotype ratings

  13. Procedure • Blood pressure tutorial (self-paced) • 18 multiple choice questions on blood pressure • Demographics and manipulation checks

  14. Excerpt from Tutorial Now that you know what blood pressure is, let’s talk about what the numbers, such as 110 over 70, actually mean. The top number is the systolic pressure. This is the peak or maximum blood pressure that occurs as the left ventricle of the heart pumps blood into the aorta, leaving the heart. This contraction of the heart is called systole. The normal systolic pressure in a healthy adult is 100 to 140 millimeters of mercury. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure. This is the pressure exerted against the aorta when the left ventricle of the heart relaxes.

  15. Stereotyping Indices Participants rated agents on traits that were relevant to stereotypes of their groups, as indicated by pilot test Scales for African-American males, Caucasian males, African-American females, Caucasian females Alphas ranged from .73 to .89

  16. Results: Stereotyping

  17. Learning Index • Proportion of correct answers on 18 item test • Range was .44 to 1.00, M = .81

  18. Results: Learning

  19. Ancillary Indices • Participants rated agents on pleasantness of voice, trustworthiness, likeability, interestingness, knowledgeability, and teaching skills • Caucasians found male agent to be less interesting than others • None of these factors correlated with learning

  20. Stereotyping Agents • Participants stereotyped animated agents based on sex • Did not stereotype based on ethnicity • Further evidence that people see computers as social actors and apply the human interaction rules to them

  21. Pedagogical Efficacy • Agents differed in pedagogical efficacy depending on sex • TRG is interested in creating maximally effective and enjoyable agents • Important to discover the factors that account for differences in pedagogical efficacy

  22. Role of Etiquette • Conformity or nonconformity to stereotypic expectations could constitute a breach of etiquette • Some participants addressed this directly

  23. Future Directions • Although agents differ in pedagogical efficacy, the characteristics that contribute to these differences have yet to be clearly established • Currently examining whether stereotypic expectations about domain knowledge interact with demographic characteristics of agents to affect learning

  24. Conclusions • Limited evidence that people stereotype agents as they do humans • Sex of the agent appears to affect learning in at least some cases • Rules of etiquette may determine an optimal level of conformity to stereotypes