All Academic, Inc. Research Logo

Info/CitationFAQResearchAll Academic Inc.
Document

Robots as New Media: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Social and Cognitive Responses to Robotic and On-Screen Agents
Unformatted Document Text:  12 appeared consistently so in all 5 sub-indices of source credibility. The different recognition test results seem to stem from its strong positive correlation with source credibility: American users who perceived the source to be more credible remembered more information from the interaction than Japanese users who perceived the source to be less credible. There are both cultural and stimulus-driven explanations for these differences between American and Japanese participants. One important difference in the experimental setup between the United States and Japan involved the use of different text-to-speech synthesizers. Because of technical limitations in the Japanese synthetic speech engine, the Japanese voices sounded less natural than the English voices. This variation in quality of the robot’s voice may have contributed to differences in source credibility and memory scores, since acoustic features of speech have been shown to play a critical role is determining affiliation (Nass & Najmi, 2002). Secondly, the interaction scripts were originally designed for American participants. Cultural differences in topical content and treatment may have further contributed to the perception of the interactive robot as an outsider to Japanese participants. The phrasing of any character's utterances has been shown to play an important role in establishing each character as a genuine representative of the culture they portray. Markus and Kitayama (1991) suggested that while Americans may value autonomy and internal consistency, these cultural traits may be present to a much smaller degree in Asian cultures. Individualistic cultures also emphasize reasons for feeling, thinking, and acting in terms of individual attributes rather than external social forces. In contrast, collectivist cultures such as Japan think of individual thought in terms of social relationships (Miller, Kozu, & Davis, 2001). The scenarios constructed in this experiment included statements of individualization. It is possible that the difference in source credibility and memory ratings stem partially as well from this type of utterances. Gestures also transmit meaning in everyday dialogue. Cassell (2000) recognizes cultural variability even among those gestures intended to represent a common metaphor, which our robot used frequently to illustrate choices and express emotional content. Even the simplest head nod that our robot executes could have been interpreted as formal assent, as a sign of attentive listening, as a turn-taking confirmation, and as a formal negative, depending on the cultural context in which it is used. Lastly, the patterns of interaction vary dramatically across cultures. Perhaps for a society with such hierarchical values and structure as the Japanese, our West-coast robot should have exercised greater deference in approaching the participants, particularly given the fact that its Japanese voice alluded to a younger embodiment. In spite of individual and cultural differences, however, there are interesting and strong reactions to media characters that jump off the screen. And importance of the differences is only likely to increase. Technology companies, often in partnership with traditional media properties, are increasing the number of robot characters available commercially. This extension of “new media” into a category quite obviously different from traditional screens – in television, film, and computing – should be an extension as

Authors: Shinozawa, Kazuhiko., Reeves, Byron., Wise, Kevin., Lim, Sohye., Maldonado, Heidy. and Naya, Futoshi.
first   previous   Page 12 of 15   next   last



background image
12
appeared consistently so in all 5 sub-indices of source credibility. The different
recognition test results seem to stem from its strong positive correlation with source
credibility: American users who perceived the source to be more credible remembered
more information from the interaction than Japanese users who perceived the source to be
less credible.
There are both cultural and stimulus-driven explanations for these differences
between American and Japanese participants. One important difference in the
experimental setup between the United States and Japan involved the use of different
text-to-speech synthesizers. Because of technical limitations in the Japanese synthetic
speech engine, the Japanese voices sounded less natural than the English voices. This
variation in quality of the robot’s voice may have contributed to differences in source
credibility and memory scores, since acoustic features of speech have been shown to play
a critical role is determining affiliation (Nass & Najmi, 2002). Secondly, the interaction
scripts were originally designed for American participants. Cultural differences in topical
content and treatment may have further contributed to the perception of the interactive
robot as an outsider to Japanese participants.

The phrasing of any character's utterances has been shown to play an important
role in establishing each character as a genuine representative of the culture they portray.
Markus and Kitayama (1991) suggested that while Americans may value autonomy and
internal consistency, these cultural traits may be present to a much smaller degree in
Asian cultures. Individualistic cultures also emphasize reasons for feeling, thinking, and
acting in terms of individual attributes rather than external social forces. In contrast,
collectivist cultures such as Japan think of individual thought in terms of social
relationships (Miller, Kozu, & Davis, 2001). The scenarios constructed in this experiment
included statements of individualization. It is possible that the difference in source
credibility and memory ratings stem partially as well from this type of utterances.

Gestures also transmit meaning in everyday dialogue. Cassell (2000) recognizes
cultural variability even among those gestures intended to represent a common metaphor,
which our robot used frequently to illustrate choices and express emotional content.
Even the simplest head nod that our robot executes could have been interpreted as formal
assent, as a sign of attentive listening, as a turn-taking confirmation, and as a formal
negative, depending on the cultural context in which it is used. Lastly, the patterns of
interaction vary dramatically across cultures. Perhaps for a society with such hierarchical
values and structure as the Japanese, our West-coast robot should have exercised greater
deference in approaching the participants, particularly given the fact that its Japanese
voice alluded to a younger embodiment.

In spite of individual and cultural differences, however, there are interesting and
strong reactions to media characters that jump off the screen. And importance of the
differences is only likely to increase. Technology companies, often in partnership with
traditional media properties, are increasing the number of robot characters available
commercially. This extension of “new media” into a category quite obviously different
from traditional screens – in television, film, and computing – should be an extension as


Convention
All Academic Convention is the premier solution for your association's abstract management solutions needs.
Submission - Custom fields, multiple submission types, tracks, audio visual, multiple upload formats, automatic conversion to pdf.
Review - Peer Review, Bulk reviewer assignment, bulk emails, ranking, z-score statistics, and multiple worksheets!
Reports - Many standard and custom reports generated while you wait. Print programs with participant indexes, event grids, and more!
Scheduling - Flexible and convenient grid scheduling within rooms and buildings. Conflict checking and advanced filtering.
Communication - Bulk email tools to help your administrators send reminders and responses. Use form letters, a message center, and much more!
Management - Search tools, duplicate people management, editing tools, submission transfers, many tools to manage a variety of conference management headaches!
Click here for more information.

first   previous   Page 12 of 15   next   last

©2012 All Academic, Inc.