Systematic Review: Trust-Building Factors and Implications for Conversational Agent Design

Minjin Rheu, Ji Youn Shin, Wei Peng, Jina Huh-Yoo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Off-the-shelf conversational agents are permeating people’s everyday lives. In these artificial intelligence devices, trust plays a key role in users’ initial adoption and successful utilization. Factors enhancing trust toward conversational agents include appearances, voice features, and communication styles. Synthesizing such work will be useful in designing evidence-based, trustworthy conversational agents appropriate for various contexts. We conducted a systematic review of the experimental studies that investigated the effect of conversational agents’ and users’ characteristics on trust. From a full-text review of 29 articles, we identified five agent design-themes affecting trust toward conversational agents: social intelligence of the agent, voice characteristics and communication style, look of the agent, non-verbal communication, and performance quality. We also found that participants’ demographic, personality, or use context moderate the effect of these themes. We discuss implications for designing trustworthy conversational agents and responsibilities around on stereotypes and social norm building through agent design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

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