hannah and emily

The Department of Psychology at The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) would like to congratulate Hannah Barr (Master of Arts Psychology Graduate Student) and Emily O’ Hear (Senior B.A. Psychology) for their first accepted publication in IEEE Transactions on Human-Machine Systems. The manuscript is titled “Is My Siri the Same as Your Siri? An exploration of Users’ Mental Model of Virtual Personal Assistants, Implications for Trust.”  The project is under the direction of Dr. Nate Tenhunfeld, Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Abstract: Virtual Personal Assistants (VPAs) are becoming so widely available that considerations are being made as to whether to begin including them in self-driving vehicles. While research has been done exploring human interactions with single VPAs, there has been little work exploring human interactions and human mental models with interconnected systems. As companies like Amazon consider whether to integrate Alexa in their self-driving car, research needs to be done to explore whether an individual’s mental model of these systems is of a single system or if every embodiment of the VPA (e.g., echo) represents a different VPA. Knowing this will allow researchers and practitioners to apply existing models of trust, and predict whether high trust in the Siri that exists in an iPhone will carry over into high (and potentially miscalibrated) trust in Apple’s Siri-directed self-driving vehicle. Results indicate that there is not one consistent mental model that users have, and provides the framework for greater exploration into individual differences and the determinants that affect users’ mental model.

For questions about our Department of Psychology, contact us at psychology@uah.edu