Smiling AI agents: How anthropomorphism and broad smiles increase charitable giving

Tae Hyun Baek, Marat Bakpayev, Sukki Yoon, Seeun Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (SciVal)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)850-867
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Advertising Association.


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Marketing


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