Is artificial intelligence more persuasive than humans? A meta-analysis

Guanxiong Huang*, Sai Wang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The rapid deployment of artificial intelligence (AI) technology has enabled AI agents to take on various roles as communicators, such as virtual assistants, robot journalists, and AI doctors. This study meta-analyzed 121 randomized experimental studies (N = 53,977) that compared the effects of AI and human agency on persuasion outcomes, including perceptions, attitudes, intentions, and behaviors. The results showed that AI agents were as persuasive as humans in terms of overall persuasion outcomes. With regard to different types of outcomes, AI was less effective than humans at shaping behavioral intentions, but did not differ significantly from humans in eliciting perceptions, attitudes, or actual behaviors. Additionally, heterogeneous patterns were observed for different roles of AI communicators, directions of communication, experimental settings, and demographic segments. The implications of these findings for human–machine communication and persuasion in the era of AI are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)552–562
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Communication
Volume73
Issue number6
Early online date9 Aug 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language

User-Defined Keywords

  • AI agent
  • AI system design
  • AI-based persuasion
  • communication technology
  • human–machine communication

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