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How anthropomorphism affects trust in intelligent personal assistants

Qian Qian Chen (School of Business, Guilin University of Electronic Technology, Guilin, China)
Hyun Jung Park (College of Business, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, Republic of Korea)

Industrial Management & Data Systems

ISSN: 0263-5577

Article publication date: 31 August 2021

Issue publication date: 10 November 2021




With the continuous improvement of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, intelligent personal assistants (IPAs) based on AI have seen unprecedented growth. The present study investigates the effect of anthropomorphism on cognitive and emotional trust and the role of interpersonal attraction in the relationship between anthropomorphism and trust.


A structural equation modeling technique with a sample of 263 consumers was used to analyze the data and test the conceptual model.


The findings illustrate that the anthropomorphism of IPAs did not directly induce trust. Anthropomorphism led users to assign greater social attraction and task attraction to IPAs, which in turn reinforced cognitive or emotional trust in these assistants. Compared with task attraction, social attraction was more powerful in strengthening both cognitive trust and emotional trust. The present study broadens the current knowledge about interpersonal attraction and its role in AI usage by examining two types of interpersonal attraction of IPAs.


As trust plays an important role in the rapid development of human–computer interaction, it is imperative to understand how consumers perceive these intelligent agents and build or improve trust. Prior studies focused on the impact of anthropomorphism on overall trust in AI, and its underlying mechanism was underexplored. The findings can help marketers and designers better understand how to enhance users' trust in their anthropomorphic products, especially by increasing social interactive elements or promoting communication.



Chen, Q.Q. and Park, H.J. (2021), "How anthropomorphism affects trust in intelligent personal assistants", Industrial Management & Data Systems, Vol. 121 No. 12, pp. 2722-2737.



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