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Subliminal Priming in Human-Agent Interaction

We investigated interactive agents using subliminal priming – the act of exposing a person to stimuli that they may not consciously notice, but are still processed subliminally in their mind – in an attempt to shape a person’s mood and behavior. We present an overview of the psychology of subliminal priming from the perspective of how it applies to human-agent interaction, including a discussion of the potential ethical and practical implications. We further present the results from two exploratory studies (one in-lab, one crowdsourced) that present potential subliminal-priming interfaces. Our results suggest that subliminal priming may impact how participants perceive an agent and how much they enjoy a task, but we failed to find any effect of priming on participant mood or agent persuasiveness.

Elaheh Sanoubari, Denise Y. Geiskkovitch, Diljot S. Garcha, Shahed A. Sabab, Kenny Hong, James E. Young, Andrea Bunt, Pourang Irani, "Subliminal Priming in Human-Agent Interaction: Can Agents Use Single-Frame Visuals in Video Feeds to Shape User Perceptions?" , In Proceedings of the 6th ACM International Conference on Human-Agent Interaction (HAI '18). 2018.