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Comparing Interpersonal Interactions with a Virtual Human to Those with a Real Human

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This paper provides key insights into the construction and evaluation of interpersonal simulators - systems that enable interpersonal interaction with virtual humans. Using an interpersonal simulator, two studies were conducted that compare interactions with a virtual human to interactions with a similar real human. The specific interpersonal scenario employed was that of a medical interview. Medical students interacted with either a virtual human simulating appendicitis or a real human pretending to have the same symptoms. In study I (n=24), medical students elicited the same information from the virtual and real human, indicating that the content of the virtual and real interactions were similar. However, participants appeared less engaged and insincere with the virtual human. These behavioral differences likely stemmed from the virtual human's limited expressive behavior. Study II (n=58) explored participant behavior using new measures. Nonverbal behavior appeared to communicate lower interest and a poorer attitude toward the virtual human. Some subjective measures of participant behavior yielded contradictory results, highlighting the need for objective, physically-based measures in future studies

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IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 3 )