The effect of apologetic error messages and mood states on computer users' self-appraisal of performance

This study, in which 310 university students participated, was designed to investigate whether computer interfaces that offer human-like apologetic error messages influence users' self-appraisals of performance in the computerized environment. The study consists of three phases. In the first phase, using the CCSARP (cross-cultural study of speech act realization patterns) coding manual, apology strategy sequences were elicited from Turkish participants. Two of these apology strategy sequences were selected for the second phase, which is a test including experimental and control groups. The experimental groups were presented with the two apology sequences, and the control group was given a plain computer message. The second phase investigated whether any of these three messages were perceived as apologies. The results indicate that the two apology messages were perceived as apologies, but the plain computer message was not perceived as one. The third phase investigated the relationship between the users' moods and their self-appraisals of performance after the transmission of the apologetic error messages. The findings show that the influence of apology messages on the users' self-appraisals of performance depends on the participants' mood state and the content of the apology messages.