The DFG project “Hybrid Trust in Voice Assistants (HYVES)” investigates how and under which conditions trust in voice assistants emerges and which role trust plays for their integration into the everyday life of users.
The starting point is the increasing importance of human-sounding assistants in the everyday use of users. Based on this, the project of DIID members Katharina Frehmann and Prof. Dr. Marc Ziegele poses the question of the role of trust, which can arise or decline during use. For this purpose, findings from interdisciplinary trust research are reviewed and a new, multidimensional trust concept (“hybrid trust”) is developed, which is based on interpersonal, journalistic and technical trust.
To explore this trust concept, a total of three consecutive studies will be conducted within two project phases. First, the trust relationships of voice assistant users will be investigated qualitatively through content analyses of product reviews as well as through observations of and guided interviews with users. This is followed by an extensive quantitative panel study and an innovative product test. In the panel study, users of voice assistants are interviewed over several months about their use of the assistants in everyday life, their trust in the assistants, and the effects of their use. In the product test, people who are interested in voice assistants but do not yet use them are provided with a voice assistant. These people will also be accompanied and interviewed over several months. This allows trust relationships and their causes and consequences to be investigated from the outset.
With the concept of hybrid trust and the extensive empirical studies, the project contributes to social science trust research as well as to the understanding of trust relationships with voice assistants and their effects. The project, which will run until winter 2025, is funded by the German Research Foundation with approximately 310,000 euros.
Jun.-Prof. Dr. Marc Ziegele
Board, Communication Studies
Since February 2018, Marc Ziegele is an assistant professor of Communication and Media Studies with a focus on political online communication at the Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf. He is also head of the junior research group “Deliberative Discussions in the Social Web” funded by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. Before coming to Düsseldorf, he worked as a research associate at the Department of Communication at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, where he also graduated in Media Economy.
His research interests include participation and discussions of citizens on the internet. The DIID-based junior research group investigates how the quality and effects of public user discussions about political topics can be improved. Moreover, Ziegele analyzes the sources and consequences of people’s trust in the mass media and different aspects of citizens’ use of the social web at the interface of Communication Studies and Psychology.
Katharina Frehmann is a research associate at the department of Social Sciences at Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf. She graduated in Communication Studies, Audio-visual Publishing (B.A.) and Communication and Media Research (M.A.) at Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz.
In her PhD project, she investigates the usage and effects of voice assistants in everyday life. Furthermore, her research interests are journalism research and health communication.”