Conversational agents (CAs) are becoming an integral component of many personal and business interactions. Despite the prevalence of CAs in modern life, there are many factors related to the social nature of the interaction between CAs and humans that remain uninvestigated. This research uses Social Presence Theory to examine the effect of CA conversational relevance on perceptions of humanness and engagement. We performed a laboratory experiment in which participants interacted with a CA that gave either conversationally relevant or nonrelevant responses. Our results indicate that people perceive CAs that give conversationally relevant responses to be more humanlike and more socially present, ultimately leading to higher engagement than CAs that give nonrelevant responses.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/rschuetzler/25/