Women's under-representation in fields such as engineering may result in part from female students' negative beliefs regarding these fields and their low self-efficacy for these fields. Empirical evidence indicates that computer-generated interface agents are effective in influencing students' interest, motivation, attitudes, and self-efficacy. Hence, in this experimental study, we investigated the potential of interface agents to serve as effective social models for changing attitudes regarding the utility of math and the hard sciences and self-efficacy for these fields. 113 middle-school students interacted with either a female or a male computer-generated interface agent or they did not interact with an interface agent. The findings from this study indicate that interface agents may be used effectively as social models for influencing middle school students' attitudes and beliefs about mathematics and the hard sciences and their mathematical ability. Nevertheless, the efficacy of the agent depended on the characteristics of the agent with the female agent tending to be the most effective regardless of the subject gender.
IOS Press, Inc.
6751 Tepper Drive
Clifton, VA 20124
Tel.: +1 703 830 6300
Fax: +1 703 830 2300 email@example.com
(Corporate matters and books only) IOS Press c/o Accucoms US, Inc.
For North America Sales and Customer Service
West Point Commons
Lansdale PA 19446
Tel.: +1 866 855 8967
Fax: +1 215 660 5042 firstname.lastname@example.org