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AI anthropomorphism and its effect on users’ self-congruence and self–AI integration: A theoretical framework and research agenda

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Amani Alabed, Dr Ana Javornik, Professor Diana Gregory-SmithORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


This paper examines how users of anthropomorphised artificially intelligent (AI) agents, which possess capabilities to mimic humanlike behaviour, relate psychologically to such agents in terms of their self-concept. The proposed conceptual framework specifies different levels of anthropomorphism of AI agents and, drawing on insights from psychology, marketing and human–computer interaction literature, establishes a conceptual link between AI anthropomorphism and self-congruence. The paper then explains how this can lead to self–AI integration, a novel concept that articulates the process of users integrating AI agents into their self-concept. However, these effects can depend on a range of moderating factors, such as consumer traits, situational factors, self-construal and social exclusion. Crucially, the conceptual framework specifies how these processes can lead to specific personal-, group- and societal-level consequences, such as emotional connection and digital dementia. The research agenda proposed on the basis of the conceptual framework identifies key areas of interest that should be tackled by future research concerning this important phenomenon.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Alabed A, Javornik A, Gregory-Smith D

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Technological Forecasting & Social Change

Year: 2022

Volume: 182

Print publication date: 01/09/2022

Online publication date: 15/06/2022

Acceptance date: 01/06/2022

Date deposited: 06/06/2022

ISSN (print): 0040-1625

ISSN (electronic): 1873-5509

Publisher: Elsevier Inc.


DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121786


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