Test­ing social inter­ac­tion in iso­la­tion: an online challenge

Bry­ony Payne, UCL


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My research looks into the per­cep­tu­al bias we afford to voic­es that belong to us or to oth­ers and how this bias might be mod­u­lat­ed by using the voic­es in a social con­text. With the chal­lenge of mov­ing our research online, we need­ed a social­ly inter­ac­tive online envi­ron­ment that indi­vid­ual par­tic­i­pants could access remotely. 

To this end, we cre­at­ed a coop­er­a­tive, two-play­er online game in which par­tic­i­pants were able to choose a new syn­the­sised voice to rep­re­sent them­selves and then use that voice to inter­act with anoth­er par­tic­i­pant in a 30-minute draw­ing game. At test, we assessed whether social use of the voice mod­u­lat­ed the degree of per­cep­tu­al bias afford­ed to it via a per­cep­tu­al match­ing par­a­digm. Specif­i­cal­ly, we com­pared the bias demon­strat­ed by par­tic­i­pants who played this online game (n=44) to a con­trol group (n=44) who had only brief expo­sure to the voic­es and did not play the game. Results show that par­tic­i­pants afford­ed a per­cep­tu­al bias to the syn­the­sised voic­es they chose, but that the degree of bias was not mod­u­lat­ed by social use of the voice. Here I present these results along­side the online tools, tasks, and plat­forms we used to attain them.

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Test­ing social inter­ac­tion in iso­la­tion: an online challenge