Fostering social agency in multimedia learning: Examining the impact of an animated agent's voice

Robert Atkinson, Richard E. Mayer, Mary Margaret Merrill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

144 Scopus citations


Consistent with social agency theory, we hypothesized that learners who studied a set of worked-out examples involving proportional reasoning narrated by an animated agent with a human voice would perform better on near and far transfer tests and rate the speaker more positively compared to learners who studied the same set of examples narrated by an agent with a machine synthesized voice. This hypothesis was supported across two experiments, including one conducted in a high school computer classroom. Overall, the results are consistent with social agency theory that posits that social cues in multimedia messages, including the type of voice, can affect how much students like the speaker and how hard students try to understand the presented material.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)117-139
Number of pages23
JournalContemporary Educational Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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