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Robots as New Media: A Cross-Cultural Examination of Social and Cognitive Responses to Robotic and On-Screen Agents
Unformatted Document Text:  5 instance, Katagiri and colleagues (Katagiri, Nass, & Takeuchi, 2001) examined whether Japanese and American people respond to a computer as a social entity and how the culturally different norms of reciprocity play a role in this response. This was accounted for in terms of the individualism/collectivism dichotomy, one of the most frequently applied criteria in cross-cultural studies. In a collectivist culture, such as Japan, people generally associate with others on a group basis, and people’s behaviors are strongly influenced by the considerations of affiliating groups (Nakane, 1970). In an individualist culture like the U.S., people associate with others on a more individual basis; group considerations do not play as significant a role in people’s behaviors (Trandis, 1990). Katagiri et al. (2001)’s experimental results confirmed this cultural distinction in that Americans tended to respond individually to computers, whereas Japanese people respond collectively Research Questions In sum, the possibility of robots as media suggest a need to explore how on-screen versus embodied interactive agents affect cognitive and social responses. Does content become any more arousing, more engaging, and more memorable when it is communicated via robots rather than with 2D on-screen representations? How might this structural change interact with cultural differences between American and Japanese participants? These are the primary research questions addressed by the following experiment. EXPERIMENTAL METHODS Participants A total of 72 participants took part in this experiment. There were two different data collection periods, with 36 participants in each period. The first period of data collection took place in the United States at a large western university. These participants consisted of a mixture of undergraduate students, graduate students, university support staff, and members of the general public. The second period of data collection took place at NTT Communication Science Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan. These participants were recruited from the general public. The gender ratios of each participant pool were identical (56% male and 44% female). Experimental Design The experiment was a mixed, two-by-three design. The between-subject factor was Embodiment (2D on-screen agent, 3D robot agent) and the within-subject factor was Scenario (retail sales, nutrition and diet, reading survey). Participants in the 3D condition interacted with the robot itself. Participants in the 2D condition interacted with a video image of the robot projected onto a television monitor. The two different levels of Embodiment are shown in Figure 1 below.

Authors: Shinozawa, Kazuhiko., Reeves, Byron., Wise, Kevin., Lim, Sohye., Maldonado, Heidy. and Naya, Futoshi.
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instance, Katagiri and colleagues (Katagiri, Nass, & Takeuchi, 2001) examined whether
Japanese and American people respond to a computer as a social entity and how the
culturally different norms of reciprocity play a role in this response. This was accounted
for in terms of the individualism/collectivism dichotomy, one of the most frequently
applied criteria in cross-cultural studies.

In a collectivist culture, such as Japan, people generally associate with others on a
group basis, and people’s behaviors are strongly influenced by the considerations of
affiliating groups (Nakane, 1970). In an individualist culture like the U.S., people
associate with others on a more individual basis; group considerations do not play as
significant a role in people’s behaviors (Trandis, 1990). Katagiri et al. (2001)’s
experimental results confirmed this cultural distinction in that Americans tended to
respond individually to computers, whereas Japanese people respond collectively
Research Questions

In sum, the possibility of robots as media suggest a need to explore how on-screen
versus embodied interactive agents affect cognitive and social responses. Does content
become any more arousing, more engaging, and more memorable when it is
communicated via robots rather than with 2D on-screen representations? How might this
structural change interact with cultural differences between American and Japanese
participants? These are the primary research questions addressed by the following
experiment.
EXPERIMENTAL METHODS
Participants

A total of 72 participants took part in this experiment. There were two different
data collection periods, with 36 participants in each period. The first period of data
collection took place in the United States at a large western university. These
participants consisted of a mixture of undergraduate students, graduate students,
university support staff, and members of the general public. The second period of data
collection took place at NTT Communication Science Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan.
These participants were recruited from the general public. The gender ratios of each
participant pool were identical (56% male and 44% female).
Experimental Design

The experiment was a mixed, two-by-three design. The between-subject factor
was Embodiment (2D on-screen agent, 3D robot agent) and the within-subject factor was
Scenario (retail sales, nutrition and diet, reading survey). Participants in the 3D condition
interacted with the robot itself. Participants in the 2D condition interacted with a video
image of the robot projected onto a television monitor. The two different levels of
Embodiment are shown in Figure 1 below.


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