Computerized aids that include person-like characteristics can
influence trust and dependence among adults, according to a Clemson University
A recently published study by Clemson University psychology
associate professor Richard Pak examined how decision making would be affected
by a human-like aid. The study focused on adults’ trust, dependence, and
performance while using a computerized decision-making aid for persons with
The study is one of the first to examine how the design of
decision-support aids on consumer devices can influence the level of trust that
users place in that system and how much they use it. The design and look of an
aid are important elements for designers because of the potential dangers
associated when users trust unreliable decision aids or lack trust for reliable
aids simply because of the their appearance.
“Just as trust is an important factor in how humans deal with
other humans, it also can determine how users interact with computerized
systems,” Pak said. “Trust can be influenced by the aid’s reliability
and level of computerization as well as the user’s experience and age.”
Many people interact with computerized decision aids or
automation on a daily basis, whether they’re using smartphones, digital cameras,
or global positioning systems. When automation is only reliable sometimes, a
person’s level of trust becomes an important factor that determines how often
the aid will be used.
“Figuring out how trust is affected by the design of
computerized aids is important because we want people to trust and use only
reliable aids,” said Pak.
Pak’s research findings have revealed that the inclusion of an
image of a person can significantly alter perceptions of a computerized aid
when there is no difference in the aid’s reliability or presentation of
“Human-like computer aids provide a reduced decision-making
reaction time for adults,” said Pak. “A plausible explanation is that
the increase in trust led to an increased dependence on the aid, which led to
Pak’s future research will examine the specific aspects of the
aid that affect trust in different age groups and gender. He also is studying
the effects of the aids on users when faced with decisions that have either a
high consequence, such as making health decisions, or a low consequence, such
as deciding what type of computer to buy.
Pak’s study was published in Ergonomics.
Source: Clemson University