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Study: Attributing Human Traits to Chatbots Can Help with Emotional Appeals and Persuasive Outcomes in Science Communication

A new study has found that chatbot anthropomorphism can intersect with emotional appeals and influence persuasive outcomes in science communication. The findings by Jinping Wang, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Advertising assistant professor, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology postdoctoral associate Lulu Peng are featured in “Striking an Emotional Chord: Effects of Emotional Appeals and Chatbot Anthropomorphism on Persuasive Science Communication” published in Science Communication on Sept. 7.

The study conducted two experiments in the contexts of skin cancer prevention and biodiversity conservation.

Jinping Wang

According to the authors, “The findings showed a matching effect between emotional appeals and anthropomorphic cues: For a chatbot with more anthropomorphic cues, fear appeals were more persuasive than hope appeals; in contrast, for a less anthropomorphic chatbot, hope appeals were more effective.”

They add, “From the perspective of human–chatbot interaction, we found that the participants in the more versus less anthropomorphic condition did not show significantly different levels of human-like perceptions (i.e., mindful anthropomorphism) but demonstrated a difference in mindless anthropomorphism: those who interacted with the more anthropomorphic chatbots rated them as possessing more human characteristics, such as friendly and sociable.”

Posted: September 11, 2023
Category: AI at CJC News, College News, Research News, Science Communication News
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