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Loyalty to computer terminals: is it anthropomorphism or consistency?

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The psychological tendency to behave socially with a computer is quite well documented in the literature. But does the short-term socialness of human-computer interaction extend over to long-term social relationships with computers? In particular, do we show loyalty to particular computer terminals over a period of time? An electronic observation of campus computer laboratories provided an affirmative answer, following which a survey of computer lab users was conducted to understand theoretical mechanisms governing self-reported loyalty to computers. In particular, it explored whether individual differences relating to psychological anthropomorphism and/or preference for consistency played a role in human loyalty toward computers. Results indicate that anthropomorphism more strongly predicts 'hardcore loyalty' to computers whereas consistency is more strongly associated with 'reinforcing loyalty.' This paper discusses theoretical and practical implications of these findings.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2004

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