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With regard to interpersonal style, we postulated that persons who experienced social anxiety would fare better with the automated advisor as socially anxious people feel discomfort in the presence of others and avoid those interactions, but an automated advisor may not trigger this experience.Finally, we focused on baseline social support because it may function as a “buffer” for reduced social contact or connectedness when counseling is delivered through an automated advisor.
This is not an indication of a security issue such as a virus or attack.
That said, we were also working in a restricted age range population (i.e., already older adult group) and thus had a restricted range to explore this moderation effect.
We included the other demographics to foster hypothesis generation and because if they were significant moderators, they could easily be utilized for targeting in clinical research.
Among these demographics, we believed gender would be the most important as we hypothesized that women may implicitly respond better to a human intervention whereas men may respond better to an automated advisor.
We also believed that age might play a role as those who are older may have had a harder time working with the automated advisor and thus not respond as well.