Counseling Chatbot Design: The Effect of Anthropomorphic Chatbot Characteristics on User Self-Disclosure and Companionship

Eunbin Kang, Youn Ah Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, there has been a growing interest in chatbots that play counseling roles in the psychological health field. Previous studies have proposed counseling chatbots; however, they have not examined the anthropomorphic characteristics of agents in detail. In counseling situations, the characteristics of counselors and counselees affect the counseling performance. This study proposes a counseling chatbot to perform an intake interview and classifies the anthropomorphic characteristics of the chatbot into three dimensions—gender, personality, and visual interface cue—to examine these characteristics’ effects on user self-disclosure and companionship. Moreover, we examine the differences caused by user characteristics. No independent effect was observed for the gender of the chatbot or personality dimensions; however, a visual interface cue adversely affected the self-disclosure and companionship of the participants, and interaction effects were observed according to the combination of anthropomorphic characteristics. Furthermore, we found that the preferred chatbot differed according to gender. These results are significant and show that visual interface cues should be applied carefully while designing counseling chatbots. The anthropomorphism of the chatbot needs to be adjusted according to the user characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Yonsei University Research Grant of 2022.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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