Smiling AI Agents: How Anthropomorphism and Broad Smiles increase Charitable Giving

Document Type



anthropomorphism; artificial intelligence; charitable behavior; psychological closeness; smiling

Identifier Data



Taylor & Francis Online

Publication Source

International Journal of Advertising


Anthropomorphism and construal level theories provide the bases for two studies showing that when nonprofit charity marketers design artificial intelligence (AI) agents to resemble humans and to smile like humans, potential donors feel greater psychological closeness to the agents and are motivated to increase charitable giving. Study 1 demonstrates that participants feel greater psychological closeness and willingness to donate in response to appeals from smiling AI agents that look like humans rather than like robots. Study 2 demonstrates that participants tend to donate more in reaction to appeals from humanlike (vs. machinelike) AI agents that smile broadly rather than slightly or not at all. The article concludes with a discussion of theoretical insights and practical implications for using AI representatives in nonprofit charity appeals.