In the shades of the uncanny valley: An experimental study of human–chatbot interaction

Leon Ciechanowski , Aleksandra Przegalińska , Mikołaj Magnuski , Peter Gloor


This project has been carried out in the context of recent major developments in botics and more widespread usage of virtual agents in personal and professional sphere. The general purpose of the experiment was to thoroughly examine the character of the human–non-human interaction process. Thus, in the paper, we present a study of human–chatbot interaction, focusing on the affective responses of users to different types of interfaces with which they interact. The experiment consisted of two parts: measurement of psychophysiological reactions of chatbot users and a detailed questionnaire that focused on assessing interactions and willingness to collaborate with a bot. In the first quantitative stage, participants interacted with a chatbot, either with a simple text chatbot (control group) or an avatar reading its responses in addition to only presenting them on the screen (experimental group. We gathered the following psychophysiological data from participants: electromyography (EMG), respirometer (RSP), electrocardiography (ECG), and electrodermal activity (EDA). In the last, declarative stage, participants filled out a series of questionnaires related to the experience of interacting with (chat)bots and to the overall human–(chat)bot collaboration assessment. The theory of planned behaviour survey investigated attitude towards cooperation with chatbots in the future. The social presence survey checked how much the chatbot was considered to be a “real” person. The anthropomorphism scale measured the extent to which the chatbot seems humanlike. Our particular focus was on the so-called uncanny valley effect, consisting of the feeling of eeriness and discomfort towards a given medium or technology that frequently appears in various kinds of human–machine interactions. Our results show that participants were experiencing lesser uncanny effects and less negative affect in cooperation with a simpler text chatbot than with the more complex, animated avatar chatbot. The simple chatbot have also induced less intense psychophysiological reactions. Despite major developments in botics, the user’s affective responses towards bots have frequently been neglected. In our view, understanding the user’s side may be crucial for designing better chatbots in the future and, thus, can contribute to advancing the field of human–computer interaction
Author Leon Ciechanowski (Wydział Psychologii)
Leon Ciechanowski,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Aleksandra Przegalińska
Aleksandra Przegalińska,,
, Mikołaj Magnuski (Wydział Psychologii)
Mikołaj Magnuski,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Peter Gloor
Peter Gloor,,
Journal seriesFuture Generation Computer Systems, ISSN 0167-739X, (N/A 140 pkt)
Issue year2019
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in EnglishHuman–computerinteraction, Chatbots, Affective computing, Psychophysiology, Uncanny valley
ASJC Classification1705 Computer Networks and Communications; 1708 Hardware and Architecture; 1712 Software
Languageen angielski
In the shades of the uncanny valley An experimental study of.pdf 2.34 MB
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Oświadczenie _L. Ciechanowski_In the shades.pdf 147.31 KB
Score (nominal)140
Score sourcejournalList
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2016 = 3.383; WoS Impact Factor: 2017 = 4.639 (2) - 2017=4.968 (5)
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