Humans adapt their communication style when interacting with one another. With interactive technologies such as voice assistants taking over the role of an interaction partner, the question arises whether and to what extent humans also adapt to their communication style. The adaptation could have a grounding function, ensuring efficient communication with the current interaction partner, or be based on priming which could endure and influence subsequent interactions. In a pre-registered experimental lab study, 133 participants interacted with a voice assistant whose communication style varied regarding politeness (polite vs. non-polite) and machine-likeness (machine-like vs. natural). Participants’ verbal behavior during and in a subsequent communication situation was analyzed. Politeness as well as machine-likeness adaptation was observed during the interaction but not afterwards, supporting the grounding hypothesis. Furthermore, the adaptation process appears to be unconscious as the voice assistant’s different communication styles did not affect conscious evaluations.



Author ORCID Identifier

Aike C. Horstmann: 0000-0003-4693-1743

Clara Strathmann: 0009-0003-6641-0168

Lea Lambrich: 0009-0005-1358-437X

Nicole C. Krämer: 0000-0001-7535-870X