Can smart TVs be social actors?

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Veazey, Joshua Mark

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Research under the Computers Are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm has demonstrated that people engage with computers in a way that is fundamentally social. If a computer directly asks a user about its own performance, the user will give a more positive response than if the user is asked about that computer by a third party, demonstrating the social rule of politeness. This study tested whether the same reaction will hold true for TV viewers who interact with a smart TV. Additionally, the experiment tested whether the feeling of being recognized by a Smart TV could engender this social response. Participants engaged with a Smart TV in an interactive session and were afterwards surveyed for their opinions on the TV. Group 1 was surveyed in a separate room by a computer. Group 2 was surveyed by the TV itself. Group 3 was also surveyed by the TV and made to believe that the TV had recognized them. Groups 2 and 3 did not have higher scores. Interactions were found between higher scores and two self-reporting items: whether the viewer was thinking of the TV’s programmer and the perceived interactivity of the experience. These results suggest that a typical smart TV session is not social.



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