University of South California2014-07-25 2:37 PM

It’s only a computer: Virtual humans increase willingness to disclose

Abstract


Research has begun to explore the use of virtual humans (VHs) in clinical interviews (Bickmore, Gruber, & Picard, 2005). When designed as supportive and “safe” interaction partners, VHs may improve such screenings by increasing willingness to disclose information (Gratch, Wang, Gerten, & Fast, 2007). In health and mental health contexts, patients are often reluctant to respond honestly. In the context of health-screening interviews, we report a study in which participants interacted with a VH interviewer and were led to believe that the VH was controlled by either humans or automation. As predicted, compared to those who believed they were interacting with a human operator, participants who believed they were interacting with a computer reported lower fear of self-disclosure, lower impression management, displayed their sadness more intensely, and were rated by observers as more willing to disclose. These results suggest that automated VHs can help overcome a significant barrier to obtaining truthful patient information.


Full Article:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0747563214002647

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