Why fat interface characters are better e-health advisors

H. C. Van Vugt, E. A. Konijn, Johannes Ferdinand Hoorn, J. Veldhuis

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


In an experimental setting, we investigated whether body shape similarity between user and interface character affected involvement with, distance towards, as well as intentions to use the character in an e-health context. Users interacted with an interface character with the same (similar) or with a different (dissimilar) body shape as their own. Furthermore, the character's body shape was negatively valenced (heavier than ideal) or positively valenced (same as ideal). In contrast to what one might expect from stereotype research, users perceived non-ideal (fatter) characters as more credible and trustworthy than ideal (slim) characters. Especially users similar in body shape to a non-ideal character felt the least distant towards fatter characters. These users also preferred to use relatively fat characters over slim characters. Considering the increasing amount of over-weight people in society, it seems most effective to design interface characters with bodies fatter than in current e-health applications, which often feature slim characters.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIntelligent Virtual Agents - 6th International Conference, IVA 2006, Proceedings
PublisherSpringer Verlag
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)3540375937, 9783540375937
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes
Event6th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2006 - Marina Del Rey, CA, United States
Duration: 21 Aug 200623 Aug 2006

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume4133 LNAI
ISSN (Print)0302-9743
ISSN (Electronic)1611-3349


Conference6th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, IVA 2006
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMarina Del Rey, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)

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