The Effect of Conversational Agent Skill on User Behavior during Deception


Conversational agents, Relevance, Deception, Conversational skill, Chatbots


Conversational agents (CAs) are an integral component of many personal and business interactions. Many recent advancements in CA technology have attempted to make these interactions more natural and human-like. However, it is currently unclear how human-like traits in a CA impact the way users respond to questions from the CA. In some applications where CAs may be used, detecting deception is important. Design elements that make CA interactions more human-like may induce undesired strategic behaviors from human deceivers to mask their deception. To better understand this interaction, this research investigates the effect of conversational skill—that is, the ability of the CA to mimic human conversation—from CAs on behavioral indicators of deception. Our results show that cues of deception vary depending on CA conversational skill, and that increased conversational skill leads to users engaging in strategic behaviors that are detrimental to deception detection. This finding suggests that for applications in which it is desirable to detect when individuals are lying, the pursuit of more human-like interactions may be counter-productive.

Original Publication Citation

"Schuetzler, R. M., Grimes, G. M., & Giboney, J. S. (2019). The Effect of Conversational Agent Skill on User Behavior during Deception. Computers in Human Behavior, 97, pp. 250–259."

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Computers in Human Behavior




Marriott School of Business


Information Systems

University Standing at Time of Publication

Assistant Professor