Special-Purpose, Embodied Conversational Intelligence with Environmental Sensors (SPECIES) Agents: Implemented in an Automated Interviewing Kiosk

Douglas Derrick
Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska, Omaha
I utilized a design science approach to create an automated kiosk that uses embodied intelligent agents to interview individuals and detect changes in arousal, behavior, and cognitive effort by using psychophysiological information systems. This dissertation achieves three primary purposes. First, I describe the creation of this new Information Technology artifact, discuss design choices, and show the completed prototype. Second, related to this new system, I propose a unique class of intelligent agents, which are described as Special Purpose Embodied Conversational Intelligence with Environmental Sensors (SPECIES). I outline a system model that frames the conceptual components of SPECIES agents, provide design principles for developing SPECIES agents, and discuss some of the research implications of the various components in the model. Third, based on the SPECIES paradigm, I present five studies that evaluate different parts of the model. These studies form the foundational research for the development of the automated kiosk. In the first study, participants interacted with an automated interviewing agent via a chat-based modality (108 participants). The study clearly demonstrates the strong, positive correlation of both response time and the number of times a message is edited to deceitful responses. The software developed became the heart of the kiosk. The second study evaluated changing human decision-making by including influence tactics in decision aids (41 participants). This paper-based decision experiment showed that framing decision aids as appeals to individuals' values possibly change individuals' decisions and was the basis for study 4. The third study examined human-computer interaction and how SPECIES agents can change perceptions of information systems by varying appearance and demeanor (88 participants). Instantiations that had the agents embodied as males were perceived as more powerful, while female embodied agents were perceived as more likeable. Similarly, smiling agents were perceived as more likable than neutral demeanor agents. The fourth study assessed how incorporating impression management techniques into embodied conversational agents can influence human perceptions of the system (88 participants). The impression management techniques proved to be very successful in changing user perceptions. Specifically, agents that performed self-promotion were perceived as more powerful, trustworthy and expert. Agents that performed ingratiation were perceived as more attractive. In the fifth study, I used an embodied agent to interview people who had either constructed a fake bomb and packed it into a bag or had only packed clothes into a bag (60 participants). The agent used eye-tracking technology to capture pupil dilation and gaze behavior. When combined with vocal measurements, the kiosk technology was able to achieve over 93% accuracy in one trial.