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Journal Article

Do children accept virtual agents as foreign language trainers?


Macedonia,  Manuela
Max Planck Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society;
Department for Information Systems, Johannes Kepler University, Linz, Austria;

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Macedonia, M., Kern, R., & Roithmayr, F. (2014). Do children accept virtual agents as foreign language trainers? International Journal of Learning, Teaching and Educational Research, 7(1), 131-137.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-57B4-A
Virtual (animated software) agents can train humans in vocabulary learning. This has been successfully tested with adults and more recently also with children. However, the question of how children perceive a virtual agent training them had not been investigated. Here we invited 25 children to evaluate their perception of a virtual and a human trainer who presented written words in a foreign language on videos; both the human trainer and the virtual agent additionally performed a semantically related gesture for each word. Subjects rated the trainers for features related to gestures and for their “personalities”. Subjects found human gestures better and gave the human trainer higher sympathy scores; however, the overall difference between their perception of virtual and human trainers was not significant.