The Department of Information and Knowledge Management
Persuasive Avatars: Using Avatars to Change What We Think and Do
PhD, University of Zurich
Every day, millions of people interact with each other through animated avatars in computer games, simulations, and virtual worlds. Such avatars can be partially human-controlled or even fully autonomous agents that aim to model human behavior. Besides simulating face-to-face communication, avatar technologies can enhance and transform social interactions in ways that are not possible in the physical world. The experiences that they create have an unprecedented potential to influence and motivate people in various aspects of their live.
I will present a series of experiments and conceptual design studies that demonstrate the persuasive power of avatars in different roles and functionalities. A particular focus will be placed on the use of persuasive avatars for conflict prevention and resolution. This work is embedded in the broader context of persuasive technology – an emerging interdisciplinary field of research on interactive computing systems designed to change people’s attitudes and behaviors. I will conclude with a discussion of ongoing work and future directions.