‘Researchers from USC and the University of Denver created a simulation in which a three-person team was supported by a virtual agent avatar on screen in a mission that was designed to ensure failure and elicit conflict.’
The potential for virtual mediation in team conflicts was the purpose of the study. The research found:
- Participants would talk openly to a virtual agent until things got heated, and then the exchanges subsided.
- Previously established virtual one-on-one talks resulted in more candour than with a human counterpart.
- “Our results show that virtual agents and potentially social robots might be a good conflict mediator in all kinds of teams.”
The study took place in a military setting and used a virtual agent called ‘Chris,’ with a male voice. The researchers hope to pursue similar studies in other environments.