Alexa as Coach: Leveraging Smart Speakers to Build Social Agents that Reduce Public Speaking Anxiety

Jinping Wang, Hyun Yang, Ruosi Shao, Saeed Abdullah, S. Shyam Sundar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

12 Scopus citations

Abstract

Public speaking anxiety is one of the most common social phobias. We explore the feasibility of using a conversational agent to reduce this anxiety. We developed a public-speaking tutor on the Amazon Alexa platform that enables users to engage in cognitive reconstruction exercises. We also investigated how the sociability of the agent might affect its performance as a tutor. A user study of 53 college students with fear of public speaking showed that the interaction with the agent served to assuage pre-speech state anxiety. Agent sociability improved the sense of interpersonal closeness, which was associated with lower pre-speech anxiety. Moreover, sociability of the agent increased participants' satisfaction and their willingness to continue engagement. Our findings, thus, have implications not only for addressing public speaking anxiety in a scalable way but also for the design of future conversational agents using smart speaker platforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2020 - Proceedings of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
ISBN (Electronic)9781450367080
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 21 2020
Event2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020 - Honolulu, United States
Duration: Apr 25 2020Apr 30 2020

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings

Conference

Conference2020 ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2020
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHonolulu
Period4/25/204/30/20

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Software

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