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Title: The effect of anthropomorphism on routine interactions with in-vehicle navigation systems
Author: Large, David Robert
Awarding Body: University of Nottingham
Current Institution: University of Nottingham
Date of Award: 2013
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Anthropomorphism concerns the attribution of human characteristics to non-human objects. Classically employed in antediluvian artefacts and religious deities, it has also been used contemporaneously as a design metaphor to persuade and motivate users and create novel and engaging products and methods of interaction. This is typically achieved by endowing a product or interface with recognisable human features, such as a voice. In contrast, the thesis investigates routine interactions with everyday technology which utilises these 'cues' for more pragmatic reasons. In-vehicle navigation systems (IVNS) typically use voices to deliver route-guidance instructions, thereby aiming to reduce physical distraction whilst ensuring drivers' visual attention remains focussed on driving. The research therefore concerns 'anthropomorphism-by interpretation rather than by design, and employs a mixed methods approach to investigate the phenomenon. In study one, over thirteen hours of dialogue was captured during indirect observations of routine journeys made by fourteen drivers and passengers. Analysis revealed that participants made attributions and responded socially to IVNS in ways that were symptomatic of anthropomorphism. This included: naming the device, talking to it and blaming it for mistakes. In study two, an online questionnaire survey, completed by 285 IVNS users, confirmed that anthropomorphism was prevalent amongst a much wider population. Attributions of personality and character influenced how respondents interacted with IVNS and their attitudes towards it, for example, the level of trust they placed in it. There was evidence that the voice providing directions had a significant impact on these attributions.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available