From non-human to human: Adult’s and children’s perceptions of agents varying in humanness

Eva Krumhuber*, Arvid Kappas, Colette Hume, Lynne Hall, Ruth Aylett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Citation (Scopus)


While most interface agents have been designed from an adult perspective, the present paper compares adults’ and children’s views of agents that vary in their degree of humanness. Four synthetic characters ranging in appearance from non-human to very human (blob, cat, cartoon, human) were presented to adult and children perceivers and were evaluated with respect to their cognitive and emotional abilities. The visual appearance significantly influenced participants’ ratings in both age groups. However, the pattern of results was more differentiated for adult perceivers as a function of the human-likeness of the character. The findings suggest that children may rely less on human-like features in inferring agents’ capabilities which are judged along simpler cognitive and social dimensions. Implications for the design of artificial agents are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Virtual Agents
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9783319219950
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event15th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 26 Aug 201528 Aug 2015

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
ISSN (Print)03029743
ISSN (Electronic)16113349


Conference15th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents
Abbreviated titleIVA 2015


  • Agent
  • Appearance
  • Children
  • Human-like
  • Theory of mind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Theoretical Computer Science


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