Seniors' acceptance of virtual humanoid agents

by   Anna Esposito, et al.

This paper reports on a study conducted as part of the EU EMPATHIC project, whose goal is to develop an empathic virtual coach capable of enhancing seniors' well-being, focusing on user requirements and expectations with respect to participants' age and technology experiences (i.e. participants' familiarity with technological devices such as smartphones, laptops, and tablets). The data shows that seniors' favorite technological device is the smartphone, and this device was also the one that scored the highest in terms of easiness to use. We found statistically significant differences on the preferences expressed by seniors toward the gender of the agents. Seniors (independently from their gender) prefer to interact with female humanoid agents on both the pragmatic and hedonic dimensions of an interactive system and are more in favor to commit themselves in a long-lasting interaction with them. In addition, we found statistically significant effects of the seniors' technology savviness on the hedonic qualities of the proposed interactive systems. Seniors with technological experience felt less motivated and judged the proposed agents less captivating, exciting, and appealing.


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