Published: A multi-level analysis of the effects of age and gender stereotypes on trust in anthropomorphic technology by younger and older adults

June 23, 2014

Our recent paper on anthropomorphic technology and stereotypes has just been published.

Pak, R., McLaughlin. A. C., & Bass, B. (In press). A Multi-level Analysis of the Effects of Age and Gender Stereotypes on Trust in Anthropomorphic Technology by Younger and Older AdultsErgonomics

Abstract: Previous research has shown that gender stereotypes, elicited by the appearance of the anthropomorphic technology, can alter perceptions of system reliability. The current study examined whether stereotypes about the perceived age and gender of anthropomorphic technology interacted with reliability to affect trust in such technology. Participants included a cross-section of younger and older adults. Through a factorial survey, participants responded to health-related vignettes containing anthropomorphic technology with a specific age, gender, and level of past reliability by rating their trust in the system. Trust in the technology was affected by the age and gender of the user as well as its appearance and reliability. Perceptions of anthropomorphic technology can be affected by pre-existing stereotypes about the capability of a specific age or gender.

Practitioner Summary: The perceived age and gender of automation can alter perceptions of the anthropomorphic technology such as trust. Thus, designers of automation should design anthropomorphic interfaces with an awareness that the perceived age and gender will interact with the user’s age and gender.