The Bad News Bot – Unfavorable messages from digital assistants

Brief Description

Projektlaufzeit: Seit Februar 2023

The communication of important messages, especially when they are negative, is an extremely sensitive process that can evoke disappointment and negative emotions in the recipient. Such bad news pertains to both personal and professional aspects, such as negative feedback, rejections, or medical diagnoses. Therefore, the delivery of unfavorable messages to the recipient is often complex, particularly when using electronic media (e.g., phone or email), as it frequently lacks the personal warmth of face-to-face communication. A potential solution for this could be digital assistants like chatbots or virtual assistants. Thanks to their human-like perception and empathetic design, they could contribute to mitigating negative emotional reactions in recipients when delivering bad news. This could have positive implications in various sectors, from businesses to medical diagnoses, by saving resources and shielding recipients from negative reactions.

Our project goal is to investigate how digital assistants and their configuration influence the inner state and subsequent (aggressive) behavior of users when they deliver bad news. We place particular emphasis on the human-like design and the use of anchoring strategies that are intended to influence the users' perception.

Ansprechperson: Andreas Kilian