The effect of empathy on human-agent interaction

Hyo Chang Kim, Min Chul Cha, Yong Gu Ji

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Technology development and information communication have led to an in-crease of human-agent communication and provided an opportunity to overcome the ex-isting limitation human-human communication. Psychological counseling studies suggest conventional face-to-face counseling method can replace the role of a counselor by ap-plying agent technology. The present study has been established to identify the effects of empathy in human-agent interaction. In order to do so, we designed and conducted a pilot study of a prototype of counseling conversation based on psychological counseling theory. We have found that empathic agents resulted in lower score on counselor’s as-sessment and lower level of empathy perceived by the subjects. The simple empathy used in this study may have given the participants a sense of imitating a clumsy human be-ing and have caused a higher level of displeasure and discomfort compared to the agents without empathy response. This study is meaningful in that it provides basic data for developing and improving an artificial intelligence-based psychological counseling system by designing artificial intelligence counseling agents and varying levels of empathy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-557
Number of pages7
JournalICIC Express Letters, Part B: Applications
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment. This work is financially supported by Korea Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) as ⌈Innovative Talent Education Program for Smart City⌋. This work was supported by Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation (IITP) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIT) [2016-0-00562(R0124-16-0002), Emotional Intelligence Technology to Infer Human Emotion and Carry on Dialogue Accordingly].

Publisher Copyright:
© ICIC International 2020.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science(all)


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