Believing Anthropomorphism: Examining the Role of Anthropomorphic Cues on User Trust in Large Language Models

Michelle Cohn
Femi Olanubi
Zion Mengesha
Daniel Padgett
CM (Association of Computing Machinery) CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems 2024(2024)


People now regularly interface with Large Language Models (LLMs) via speech and text (e.g., Bard) interfaces. However, little is known about the relationship between how users anthropomorphize an LLM system (i.e., ascribe human-like characteristics to a system) and how they trust the information the system provides. Participants (n=2,165; ranging in age from 18-90 from the United States) completed an online experiment, where they interacted with a pseudo-LLM that varied in modality (text only, speech + text) and grammatical person (“I” vs. “the system”) in its responses. Results showed that the “speech + text” condition led to higher anthropomorphism of the system overall, as well as higher ratings of accuracy of the information the system provides. Additionally, the first-person pronoun (“I”) led to higher information accuracy and reduced risk ratings, but only in one context. We discuss these findings for their implications for the design of responsible, human–generative AI experiences.