Park. S., & Sung, Y. (2023).
The Interplay between Human Likeness and Agency on Virtual Influencer Credibility.
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking.
This study investigated how human likeness (human-like vs. avatar-like) and agency (avatar vs. agent) interact to determine source credibility and the intention to interact with virtual influencers. The results revealed that human likeness significantly influenced three types of source credibility (attractiveness, trustworthiness, and expertise) and interaction intention. However, the agency of virtual influencers did not have a significant impact. Notably, the automated virtual influencer (i.e., the agent condition) was perceived to be more attractive and trustworthy and elicited higher interaction intention than the influencer operated by a human (i.e., the avatar condition). However, this relationship was observed only in the avatar-like condition. Thus, agency moderated the indirect relationship between human likeness and interaction through attractiveness and trustworthiness. Finally, the theoretical and practical implications of the findings and ideas for future research are discussed.