Conversational agents (CAs) are becoming an increasingly common component in many information systems. The ubiquity of CAs in cell phones, entertainment systems, and messaging applications has led to a growing need to understand how design choices made when developing CAs influence user interactions. In this study, we explore the use case of CAs that gather potentially sensitive information from people—for example, in a medical interview. Using a laboratory experiment, we examine the influence of CA responsiveness and embodiment on the answers people give in response to sensitive and non-sensitive questions. The results show that for sensitive questions, the responsiveness of the CA increased the social desirability of the responses given by participants.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rschuetzler/12/