Implications of gender differences for the development of animated characters for the study of bullying behaviour
This paper considers the impact of gender on the design of animated agents that aim to evoke empathy and to encourage children to explore issues related to bullying. High fidelity storyboards containing bullying scenarios were presented to 80 ten year old children from two schools. Children individually completed a questionnaire that focused on amongst other things the empathic relationship between the child and the characters in the storyboard. Results indicate significant differences between the genders, with greater levels of empathy and comprehension achieved when characters are of the same gender as the child. This has considerable implications for the design of animated characters for bullying scenarios, requiring that the gender of the child is taken into account when designing animated characters and the scenarios they participate in.