Impact of Agent Role on Confusion Induction and Learning

Blair Lehman, Arthur Graesser

The presentation of contradictory information to trigger deeper processing and increase learning has been investigated in a variety of ways (e.g., conversational agents, worked examples). However, the impact of information source (e.g., expertise, gender) and the relationship between the contradicting sources (e.g., status level) has not been investigated to the same degree. We previously reported that confusion can successfully be induced and learning increased when contradictory information was presented by two conversational agents (tutor, peer student). In the present experiment we investigated contradictions posed by two peer student agents. Self-reports of confusion and learner responses to embedded forced-choice questions revealed that the contradictions still successfully induced confusion. There were, however, differences in the nature of confusion induction based on the inter-agent relationship (i.e., student-student vs. tutor-student). Learners performed better on transfer tasks when presented with contradictions compared to a no-contradiction control, but only when they were successfully confused.

The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07221-0_6.