Investigating the effect of relative cultural distance on the acceptance of robots

G. Trovato*, J. R.C. Ham, K. Hashimoto, H. Ishii, A. Takanishi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


A complex relationship exists between people’s cultural background and their general acceptance towards robots. Previous studies supported the idea that humans may accept more easily a robot that can adapt to their specific culture. However, it is not clear whether between two robots which are identified as foreign robots because of their verbal and non-verbal expressions, the one that is culturally closer may be preferred or not. In this experiment, participants of Dutch nationality were engaged in a simulated video conference with a robot that is greeting and speaking either in German or in Japanese; they completed a questionnaire assessing their preferences and their emotional state. As Dutch participant showed less signs of discomfort and better acceptance when interacting with a German robot, the hypothesis that acceptance of a robot could be directly proportional to cultural closeness was supported, while the hypothesis that similar foreign robots are equally less accepted regardless of the countrywas rejected. Implications are discussed for how robots should be designed to be employed in different countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)664-673
Number of pages10
JournalLecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)
Volume9388 LNCS
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event7th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2015 - Paris, France
Duration: 2015 Oct 262015 Oct 30


  • Culture
  • Gestures
  • Greetings
  • HRI
  • Social robotics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Computer Science(all)


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