A study in users' physiological response to an empathic interface agent

Helmut Prendinger*, Christian Becker, Mitsuru Ishizuka

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents a novel method for evaluating the impact of animated interface agents with affective and empathic behavior. While previous studies relied on questionnaires in order to assess the user's overall experience with the interface agent, we will analyze users' physiological response (skin conductance and electromyography), which allows us to estimate affect-related user experiences on a moment-by-moment basis without interfering with the primary interaction task. As an interaction scenario, a card game has been implemented where the user plays against a virtual opponent. The findings of our study indicate that within a competitive gaming scenario, (i) the absence of the agent's display of negative emotions is conceived as arousing or stress-inducing, and (ii) the valence of users' emotional response is congruent with the valence of the emotion expressed by the agent. Our results for skin conductance could also be reproduced by assuming a local rather than a global baseline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-391
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Humanoid Robotics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept
Externally publishedYes


  • Affective behavior
  • Empathy
  • Evaluation
  • Life-like characters
  • Physiological user information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Mechanical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'A study in users' physiological response to an empathic interface agent'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this