Building Rapport between Human and ECA: A Pilot Study

  • David Novick
  • Iván Gris
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8511)


This study is part of a longer-term project to provide embodied conversational agents (ECAs) with behaviors that enable them to build and maintain rapport with their human partners. We focus on paralinguistic behaviors, and especially nonverbal behaviors, and their role in communicating rapport. Using an ECA that guides its players through a speech-controlled game, we attempt to measure the familiarity built between humans and ECAs across several interactions based on paralinguistic behaviors. In particular, we studied the effect of differences in the amplitude of nonverbal behaviors by an ECA interacting with a human across two conversational sessions. Our results suggest that increasing amplitude of nonverbal paralinguistic behaviors may lead to an increased perception of physical connectedness between humans and ECAs.


Embodied conversational agent familiarity rapport paralinguistic nonverbal communication 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Acosta, J.C., Ward, N.G.: Achieving rapport with turn-by-turn, user-responsive emotional coloring. Speech Communication 53(9), 1137–1148 (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Anderson, T., Galley, S.: The history of Zork. The New Zork Times 4(1-3) (1985)Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Bell, R.A., Daly, J.A.: The affinity-seeking function of communication. Communications Monographs 51(2), 91–115 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bickmore, T., Cassell, J.: Relational agents: A model and implementation of building user trust. In: Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, pp. 396–403. ACM (March 2001)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bickmore, T.W., Picard, R.W.: Establishing and maintaining long-term human-computer relationships. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI) 12(2), 293–327 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cafaro, A., Vilhjálmsson, H.H., Bickmore, T., Heylen, D., Jóhannsdóttir, K.R., Valgarðsson, G.S.: First impressions: Users’ judgments of virtual agents’ personality and interpersonal attitude in first encounters. In: Nakano, Y., Neff, M., Paiva, A., Walker, M. (eds.) IVA 2012. LNCS, vol. 7502, pp. 67–80. Springer, Heidelberg (2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cassell, J. (ed.): Embodied conversational agents. The MIT Press (2000)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cassell, J., Gill, A.J., Tepper, P.A.: Coordination in conversation and rapport. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Embodied Language Processing, pp. 41–50. Association for Computational Linguistics (June 2007)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clausen-Bruun, M., Ek, T., Haake, M.: Size certainly matters–at least if you are a gesticulating digital character: The impact of gesture amplitude on addressees’ information uptake. In: Intelligent Virtual Agents, pp. 446–447. Springer, Heidelberg (2013)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cole, T., Teboul, B.: Non-zero-sum collaboration, reciprocity, and the preference for similarity: Developing an adaptive model of close relational functioning. Personal Relationships 11(2), 135–160 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Crowther, W., Woods, D., Black, K.: Colossal cave adventure. Computer Game (1976)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Fisher, B.A., Drecksel, G.L.: A cyclical model of developing relationships: A study of relational control interaction. Communications Monographs 50(1), 66–78 (1983)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Gratch, J., Wang, N., Gerten, J., Fast, E., Duffy, R.: Creating rapport with virtual agents. In: Pelachaud, C., Martin, J.-C., André, E., Chollet, G., Karpouzis, K., Pelé, D. (eds.) IVA 2007. LNCS (LNAI), vol. 4722, pp. 125–138. Springer, Heidelberg (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Huang, L., Morency, L.-P., Gratch, J.: Virtual rapport 2.0. In: Vilhjálmsson, H.H., Kopp, S., Marsella, S., Thórisson, K.R. (eds.) IVA 2011. LNCS, vol. 6895, pp. 68–79. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Neff, M., Wang, Y., Abbott, R., Walker, M.: Evaluating the effect of gesture and language on personality perception in conversational agents. In: Safonova, A. (ed.) IVA 2010. LNCS, vol. 6356, pp. 222–235. Springer, Heidelberg (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Reis, H.T., Shaver, P.: Intimacy as an interpersonal process. In: Duck, S.W. (ed.) Handbook of Personal Relationships, pp. 367–389. John Wiley, NY (1988)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Tickle-Degnen, L., Rosenthal, R.: Group rapport and nonverbal behavior. Review of Personality and Social Psychology 9, 113–136 (1987)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Novick
    • 1
  • Iván Gris
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceThe University of Texas at El PasoEl PasoUSA

Personalised recommendations