Anthropomorphism and trust: the effect of a chatbot’s anthropomorphic features on trust and user experience

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In this thesis we aimed to find connections between the level of anthropomorphism in a chatbot and user trust. Recent advancements in chatbot technology have caused increased amounts of scepticism surrounding the technology. This thesis aims to tackle that problem by evaluating what affects user trust in a chatbot. Relevant literature to anthropomorphism and trust is discussed. Research hypotheses will be given that originate from a conceptual model based on the model of on-line trust, as well as concepts such as social presence and anthropomorphism. We will answer the two research questions: "Do anthropomorphic and humane features enhance user trust in a chatbot?", and "Does trust in a chatbot enhance user satisfaction?". To answer these questions, two version of a goal-based chatbot have been developed. A chatbot with anthropomorphic features and one without these features. This study has two groups of respondents with a between subject design. Each group tested the chatbot and filled in a questionnaire. The results of this study show significant connections between anthropomorphism, social presence and trust. These results mainly originate from the strong connection between social presence and anthropomorphism, and the strong positive correlation between social presence and trust. This thesis contributes to a better understanding of chatbot evaluation, as well as the effects of anthropomorphism in technology. An emphasis should be put on further research in this field to find out what affects user trust in chatbot technology.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen