This work addresses the challenge of creating virtual agents that are able to portray culturally appropriate behavior when interacting with other agents or humans. Because culture influences how people perceive their social reality it is important to have agent models that explicitly consider social elements, such as existing relational factors. We addressed this necessity by integrating culture into a novel model for simulating human social behavior. With this model, we operationalized a particular dimension of culture—individualism versus collectivism—within the context of an interactive narrative scenario that is part of an agent-based tool for intercultural training. Using this scenario we conducted a cross-cultural study in which participants from a collectivistic country (Portugal) were compared with participants from an individualistic country (the Netherlands) in the way they perceived and interacted with agents whose behavior was either individualistic or collectivistic, according to the configuration of the proposed model. In the obtained results, Portuguese subjects rated the collectivistic agents more positively than the Dutch but both countries had a similarly positive opinion about the individualistic agents. This experiment sheds new light on how people from different countries differ when assessing the social appropriateness of virtual agents, while also raising new research questions on this matter.
- Cognitive models
- Intelligent virtual environments
- Virtual agents
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Artificial Intelligence