Is two better than one? Effects of multiple agents on user persuasion

Reshmashree B. Kantharaju, Alison Pease, Dominic De Franco, Catherine Pelachaud

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

25 Citations (Scopus)


Virtual humans need to be persuasive in order to promote behaviour change in human users. While several studies have focused on understanding the numerous aspects that inluence the degree of persuasion, most of them are limited to dyadic interactions. In this paper, we present an evaluation study focused on understanding the efects of multiple agents on user’s persuasion. Along with gender and status (authoritative & peer), we also look at type of focus employed by the agent i. e., user-directed where the agent aims to persuade by addressing the user directly and vicarious where the agent aims to persuade the user, who is an observer, indirectly by engaging another agent in the discussion. Participants were randomly assigned to one of the 12 conditions and presented with a persuasive message by one or several virtual agents. A questionnaire was used to measure perceived interpersonal attitude, credibility and persuasion. Results indicate that credibility positively afects persuasion. In general, multiple agent setting, irrespective of the focus, was more persuasive than single agent setting. Although, participants favored user-directed setting and reported it to be persuasive and had an increased level of trust in the agents, the actual change in persuasion score relects that vicarious setting was the most efective in inducing behaviour change. In addition to this, the study also revealed that authoritative agents were the most persuasive.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 18th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2018
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages8
ISBN (Electronic)9781450360135
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2018
Event18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2018 - Sydney, Australia
Duration: 5 Nov 20188 Nov 2018


Conference18th ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2018


  • Evaluation
  • Multi-agent
  • Persuasion
  • Role
  • User

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction

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