How the agent’s gender influence users’ evaluation of a QA system

A.I. Niculescu, D.H.W. Hofs, Elisabeth M.A.G. van Dijk, Antinus Nijholt

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionAcademicpeer-review

    16 Citations (Scopus)
    109 Downloads (Pure)


    In this paper we present the results of a pilot study investigating the effects of agents’ gender-ambiguous vs. gender-marked look on the perceived interaction quality of a multimodal question answering system. Eight test subjects interacted with three system agents, each having a feminine, masculine or gender-ambiguous look. The subjects were told each agent was representing a differently configured system. In fact, they were interacting with the same system. In the end, the subjects filled in an evaluation questionnaire and participated in an in-depth qualitative interview. The results showed that the user evaluation seemed to be influenced by the agent’s gender look: the system represented by the feminine agent achieved on average the highest evaluation scores. On the other hand, the system represented by the gender-ambiguous agent was systematically lower rated. This outcome might be relevant for an appropriate agent look, especially since many designers tend to develop gender-ambiguous characters for interactive interfaces to match various users’ preferences. However, additional empirical evidence is needed in the future to confirm our findings.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the International Conference on User Science and Engineering 2010
    EditorsF. Mohd Saman, N.L. Md Noor, H. Haron, A. Yeo, A. Edwards
    Place of PublicationUSA
    Number of pages5
    ISBN (Print)978-1-4244-9049-3
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2010
    EventInternational Conference on User Science and Engineering 2010 - Shah Alam, Malasya
    Duration: 13 Dec 201015 Dec 2010

    Publication series

    Volumeonline pre
    ISSN (Print)0302-9743
    ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


    ConferenceInternational Conference on User Science and Engineering 2010
    Other13-15 Dec 2010


    • METIS-271077
    • IR-73715
    • User studies
    • HMI-HF: Human Factors
    • Anthropomorphic agents
    • EWI-18616
    • Gender-ambiguous vs. gender-marked look

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