Gender Stereotyping’s Influence on the Perceived Competence of Siri and Co.

Date
2020-01-07
Authors
Ernst, Claus-Peter
Herm-Stapelberg, Nils
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Abstract
Some users express frustration with regard to virtual assistants due to their lack of perceived competence. To address this negative perception, we believe that technology companies should be aware of gender stereotypes. More specifically, it has been shown that males are attributed with rational competence more often than females. Drawing from the CASA paradigm, which states that people regularly assign human traits to computers, we expect that this stereotype might also be present for virtual assistants, i.e., male-voice virtual assistants are perceived as being more competent than female-voice virtual assistants. We test this hypothesis by conducting a controlled experiment which simulates a realistic interaction with differently voiced virtual assistants. The results indicate that gender stereotypes indeed play a role in the perception of the interaction. Male-voiced assistants are perceived more competent than their female-voiced counterpart which has practical implications in the design and development of devices that utilize these assistants.
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Keywords
The Diffusion, Impacts, Adoption and Usage of ICTs upon Society, competence, gender, virtual assistant, voice
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