An investigation of user perceptions of anthropomorphic linguistic expressions in guidance from home appliances

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Kouyou OtsuTomoko Izumi

Abstract: With the progress of using voice recognition technology and artificial intelligence, interactive home appliances that communicate with users in natural language and provide appropriate guidance are becoming widespread. Such intelligent artifacts not only provide advanced guidance to users but may also be the key to changing the relationship between humans and artifacts.In the field of cognitive science, it is known that human tends to perceive artifacts as if they were living things. It is known as the concept of the "media equation." Therefore, interaction design that makes such home appliances behave as more anthropomorphic entities may provide a means to make users perceive them as more relatable. However, many studies about animacy perception for interactive systems have focused on humanoid artifacts and their physicality. Therefore, there has been limited interaction design knowledge for making non-humanoid artifacts behave as anthropomorphic entities. In particular, an object's verbal expression may be considered an important factor affecting the perception of anthropomorphism toward the object. However, there is no sufficient discussion on whether the introduction of anthropomorphic linguistic expressions into the speech scenario of an object can become a factor to change how that object is perceived. In addition, it is not clear how the introduction of anthropomorphic expressions in situations of guidance by interactive systems affects the degree of comprehension of the content.In this study, we investigated how differences in the strength of anthropomorphism in the "speech" of home appliances affect users' perceptions of its guidance. This survey was conducted as a web-based questionnaire, and 132 Japanese-native speakers participated in it. In the experiment, participants were presented with a text of a scenario in which a microwave oven recommends a menu to a user and guides users on how to use" him/herself" to facilitate the user's task of preparing the menu. Then, they were asked to answer a questionnaire while watching the text. In this experiment, we prepared five sentences with different intensities of anthropomorphizing of the microwave oven written in the sentences. These sentences were designed to change the intensity of the anthropomorphism of the object without changing the content or intention of the sentences by using four anthropomorphic strategies: from third-person description to the introduction of first-person expressions (e.g., "I"), physical expressions (e.g., "my stomach"), casual expressions, and expressive emotional statements. Participants were instructed to answer the questionnaire in the same way for each of these five types of sentences.As a result, it was suggested that by increasing the intensity of anthropomorphism in the linguistic expressions expressed by the object, it is possible to change the way people perceive the object as if the object itself were speaking. In addition, there was no difference in the degree to which users understood the speech intentions of the appliances due to changes in the anthropomorphic expressions. These results suggest that anthropomorphizing the object based on linguistic expressions may help enhance the relationship with a human in interaction scenes where the artifact itself provides guidance.

Keywords: Interactive systems, Interaction design, Media Equation, Anthropomorphization

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe1001778

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