“Persuasion by Artificial Intelligence Differs along Cognitive versus Affective Routes” by TaeWoo Kim, Adam Duhachek
While some advanced A.I. (e.g., Google’s AlphaGo) can surpass human cognitive intelligence in many domains, their capability to mimic human emotion is still in its infancy. Thus, emotional capability has long been considered a property A.I. lacks when compared to humans. The current research shows that persuasion by an A.I. is more effective when the product is perceived as cognitive (vs. affective) in its nature. In Study 1, persuasion by an A.I. to buy a book was shown to be more effective when the book was framed cognitively rather than affectively. In Study 2, consumers were found to bet their money on a baseball team that was recommended by an A.I. (vs. human sports analyst) when baseball was framed as a cognitive (vs. emotional) sport. In Study 3, consumers demonstrated higher intention to watch a movie recommended by an A.I. when the movie was described in cognitive (vs. affective) language. However, this effect was attenuated when the same movie was introduced by a human movie expert. In Study 4, we found that the same persuasive message was more effective when a recipient consumer’s mindset was cognitively (vs. affectively) oriented. In examining the underlying mechanism, we found in Study 5 that the effective persuasion from agent-product type matching is due to a heightened attitude certainty created from the matching (vs. mismatching). In Study 6, we found that increasing anthropomorphic characteristics of an A.I. attenuates the matching effect found in previous studies because individuals perceived greater emotional capability from an A.I. that resembles human appearance.