Designing and Evaluating Animated Agents as Social Actors


IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E86-D   No.8   pp.1378-1385
Publication Date: 2003/08/01
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Issue on Software Agent and Its Applications)
human-like and believable qualities of agents,  emotion and personality,  agent modeling,  empirical methods to observe user behavior,  web-based environments,  

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Recent years have witnessed a growing interest in employing animated agents for tasks that are typically performed by humans. They serve as communicative partners in a variety of applications, such as tutoring systems, sales, or entertainment. This paper first discusses design principles for animated agents to enhance their effectiveness as tutors, sales persons, or actors, among other roles. It is argued that agents should support their perception as social actors by displaying human-like social cues such as affect and gestures. An architecture for emotion-based agents will be described and a simplified version of the model will be illustrated by two interaction scenarios that feature cartoon-style characters and can be run in a web browser. The second focus of this paper is an empirical evaluation of the effect of an affective agent on users' emotional state which is derived from physiological signals of the user. Our findings suggest that an agent with affective behavior may significantly decrease user frustration.