Fotis Efthymiou, doctoral candidate at IBT, published a research paper at Marketing Review St. Gallen, 2021 titled “Engineering power attributions in conversational agents: the unexplored impact of vocal vibrato and vocal tract length.

Consumers have a tendency to anthropomorphize conversational agents, ascribing human attributes to them including the experience of emotions and fundamental personality traits. Although human-to-human interaction research underscores the importance of vocal features on perceptions of power-related personality traits (e.g., dominance, competence, leadership styles), research on conversational AI has not progressed toward a more fundamental understanding on how subtle cues in the humanlike voice of an agent impacts consumer perceptions of power. In this work, Fotis addressed this gap by systematically altering the vocal vibrato and the vocal tract length of conversational agents’ voices and measure the impact on attributions of power toward the agent He also discussed potential practical implications the manipulation of the aforementioned vocal parameters could instigate.