Social presence and dishonesty in retail

Susan Siebenaler, Andrea Szymkowiak, Paul Robertson, Graham I. Johnson, Jan Law, Kenneth Fee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Self-service checkouts (SCOs) in retail can benefit consumers and retailers, providing control and autonomy to shoppers independent from staff, together with reduced queuing times. Recent research indicates that the absence of staff may provide the opportunity for consumers to behave dishonestly, consistent with a perceived lack of social presence. This study examined whether a social presence in the form of various instantiations of embodied, visual, humanlike SCO interface agents had an effect on opportunistic behaviour. Using a simulated SCO scenario, participants experienced various dilemmas in which they could financially benefit themselves undeservedly.

We hypothesised that a humanlike social presence integrated within the checkout screen would receive more attention and result in fewer instances of dishonesty compared to a less humanlike agent. This was partially supported by the results. The findings contribute to the theoretical framework in social presence research. We concluded that companies adopting self-service technology may consider the implementation of social presence in technology applications to support ethical consumer behaviour, but that more research is required to explore the mixed findings in the current study.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 32nd International BCS Human Computer Interaction Conference (HCI 2018)
EditorsRaymond Bond, Maurice Mulvenna, Jonathan Wallace, Michaela Black
Place of PublicationBelfast
PublisherBCS Learning & Development Ltd.
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2018
Event32nd International Human Computer Interaction Conference - Church House, Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 4 Jul 20186 Jul 2018
Conference number: 32

Publication series

NameElectronic Workshops in Computing (eWiC)
PublisherBCS Learning & Development
ISSN (Print)1477-9358


Conference32nd International Human Computer Interaction Conference
Abbreviated titleHCI 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


  • Embodied agents
  • Antropomorphism
  • Retail shrinkage
  • Social presence
  • Self-service
  • Eye tracking


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