Empathetic virtual peers enhanced learner interest and self-efficacy

Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Workshop on Motivation and Affect in Educational Software in the 12th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education (AIED 2005)

Publication Date



This study investigated the effects of empathetic response (responsive vs. non-responsive) and gender (male vs. female) of pedagogical agents as learning companions (PALs) on learner interest, self-efficacy, social judgments of PAL persona, and learning. Fifty-six pre-service teachers were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. The results revealed that students who worked with a PAL who responded with empathy to learners’ affect showed significantly higher interest (p < .05) and self-efficacy in the tasks (p < .05) than students with a non-responsive PAL. Also, students rated the persona of a male PAL more favorably than that of a female PAL (p < .05). The findings imply that PAL/learner relationships in computer-based learning might be consistent with human relationships in traditional classrooms.

This document is currently not available here.