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Fast Friends: Generating Interpersonal Closeness between Humans and Socially Interactive Agents

Tanja Schneeberger; Anna Lea Reinwarth; Robin Wensky; Manuel Silvio Anglet; Patrick Gebhard; Janet Weßler
In: Proceedings of the 23nd ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents. International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA-2023), ACM, 2023.


Humans can develop closeness through the exchange of personal information. A structured method of self-disclosure has been developed in the Fast Friends paradigm, in which two people alternately ask 36 questions with increasing levels of interpersonal intimacy. We transferred this paradigm to interactions with Socially Interactive Agents (SIA). In our study, 72 participants alternately asked and answered 36 questions with a SIA -- indicating their level of interpersonal closeness with the SIA at three points. Participants rated specific trust in the SIA after the interaction, and their general trust and attachment styles were measured. Over time, participants' levels of closeness increased, which was moderated by specific trust but not by general trust and attachment style. Participants with high specific trust developed higher levels of closeness to the SIA than participants with low specific trust. These findings indicate that people can develop a close relationship with SIAs and that trust in the SIA is a prerequisite for developing closeness. Furthermore, this paper introduced the Inclusion of Other in the Self Scale for assessing the relationship between two interaction partners during an ongoing interaction.