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Convincing conversational agents require a coherent set of behavioral responses that can be interpreted by a human observer as indicative of a personality. This paper discusses the continued development and subsequent evaluation of virtual agents based on sound psychological principles. We use Eysenck's theoretical basis to explain aspects of the characterization of our agents, and we describe an architecture where personality affects the agent's global behavior quality as well as their back-channel productions. Drawing on psychological research, we evaluate perception of our agents' personalities and credibility by human viewers (N = 187). Our results suggest that we succeeded in validating theoretically grounded indicators of personality in our virtual agents, and that it is feasible to place our characters on Eysenck's scales. A key finding is that the presence of behavioral characteristics reinforces the prescribed personality profiles that are already emerging from the still images. Our long-term goal is to enhance agents' ability to sustain realistic interaction with human users, and we discuss how this preliminary work may be further developed to include more systematic variation of Eysenck's personality scales.
Date of Publication: July-September 2012