Social robots on a global stage: establishing a role for culture during a Human-Robot interaction

Lim, V., Rooksby, M. and Cross, E. S. (2020) Social robots on a global stage: establishing a role for culture during a Human-Robot interaction. International Journal of Social Robotics, (doi: 10.1007/s12369-020-00710-4) (Early Online Publication)

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Robotic agents designed to assist people across a variety of social and service settings are becoming increasingly prevalent across the world. Here we synthesise two decades of empirical evidence from human–robot interaction (HRI) research to focus on cultural influences on expectations towards and responses to social robots, as well as the utility of robots displaying culturally specific social cues for improving human engagement. Findings suggest complex and intricate relationships between culture and human cognition in the context of HRI. The studies reviewed here transcend the often-studied and prototypical east–west dichotomy of cultures, and explore how people’s perceptions of robots are informed by their national culture as well as their experiences with robots. Many of the findings presented in this review raise intriguing questions concerning future directions for robotics designers and cultural psychologists, in terms of conceptualising and delivering culturally sensitive robots. We point out that such development is currently limited by heterogenous methods and low statistical power, which contribute to a concerning lack of generalisability. We also propose several avenues through which future work may begin to address these shortcomings. In sum, we highlight the critical role of culture in mediating efforts to develop robots aligned with human users’ cultural backgrounds, and argue for further research into the role of culturally-informed robotic development in facilitating human–robot interaction.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Early Online Publication
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Rooksby, Dr Maki and Cross, Professor Emily
Authors: Lim, V., Rooksby, M., and Cross, E. S.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology
Journal Name:International Journal of Social Robotics
ISSN (Online):1875-4805
Published Online:11 November 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Authors
First Published:First published in International Journal of Social Robotics 2020
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
303930SOCIAL ROBOTSEmily CrossEuropean Research Council (ERC)677270NP - Centre for Neuroscience
304215Philip Leverhulme Prize - ECEmily CrossLeverhulme Trust (LEVERHUL)PLP-2018-152NP - Centre for Neuroscience