Let's talk: Anthropomorphization as Means to Cope With Stress of Interacting With Technical Devices
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Ergonomics 46 (13/14): 1361–1374 (2003)

This study is concerned with the anthropomorphization of technical devices and the resulting influence on human-machine interaction; a special focus is laid on the verbal interaction be-tween human and machine. Questions were, for example: why do people regard technical devices as human, when do they do so and how do they perceive their own dialogue and other persons’ dialogues with technical devices? Further, the correlational dependencies were analyzed between the amount of shown anthropomorphism, the subjects’ personality structure (using the five factor model of McCrae & Costa, 1987), the fear of technical devices and the self-rated technical competency. A subsequent regression analysis revealed that extraversion and gender of the respondents were significant predictors of the amount of interaction with technical devices. It was found in another regression analysis that neuroticism and agreeableness were significant predictors of self-rated technical competency. Technical devices that were seen as helpers or friends were generally treated less unfriendly than devices perceived as tools exclusively. Finally, the findings are discussed in the context of emotion and stress at work and the usabil-ity of technical devices.
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