Recently, one of my collaborator with expertise in Health and Science Communication, shared a paper with me discussing about credibility in digital media. I wanted to discuss my takeaways as a virtual human researcher in this blog.
The paper provides a summary of how source credibility has been studied in political communication using digital media. Although the domain is political communication, I think there are some interesting takeaways for virtual human researchers.
- I have always used credibility and trust interchangeably. However, source credibility = source expertise + source trustworthiness
- Source credibility is positively associated with persuasion.
- The receiver’s credibility in source depends on how closely the position advocated by the source matches the receiver’s position and his or her own expectations.
- Leveling effect: All the information online has same level of accessibility, and information is presented in similar ways, therefore people perceive same level of credibility.
Implications/Ideas for virtual human research:
- Based on takeaway 3, I would hypothesize that virtual humans can be made more credible if virtual human first agrees with the user on a different topic and then attempt to persuade user on the topic of interest.
- Based on leveling effect, users might compare virtual humans with other “digital assistant” technologies (like Alexa) when measuring their credibility. So knowing user’s prior experience with such technologies can give a better understanding.
PS: This is my first attempt to write a blog. Any feedback or tips to improve are welcome.