Accession Number:



PISTIS - Persuasion in Social Touch Interactions

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Final Report]

Corporate Author:

University of Twente

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



A social touch between two people or a user and a Virtual Agent VA can increase compliance in neutral and collaborative settings. In this study, we look at the effects of a social touch by a VA in a negotiation setting and the role of trust in the VA as moderating variable. In Experiment 1, 63 participants were randomly assigned to a touch or a no-touch group and negotiated prices with a virtual, female bar owner on behalf of their student society. We found that touch had a negative effect on compliance for people who perceive the VA to be untrustworthy, and had no effect for people who perceived the VA to be moderately or highly trustworthy. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the trustworthiness of the VA through her face expression and the written introduction to the experiment. Ninety six participants were randomly assigned to a touch or a no-touch group and completed the same negotiation scenario. We found that touch by the untrustworthy VA resulted in lower compliance than touch by a neutral VA, confirming the results of Experiment 1. These results show that a positive effect of a social touch on compliance may be absent in a competitive settings, and may even be negative if the touching opponent is perceived as untrustworthy. Our study adds to our knowledge on the boundary conditions for VAs and robots with social touch capabilities.


Subject Categories:

  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems
  • Psychology

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]