Cross-Cultural Affective Evaluation of Kawaii Robots in Virtual Spaces

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Conference Proceeding

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In modern society, robots have been increasingly involved in human lives in various scenarios. As a future society with human-robot interaction is approaching, it is important to consider how to develop robots that give positive impressions for a variety of users. Based on an Affective Engineering approach, affective values can strengthen the impact of the first impressions of products. Kawaiiness is one affective value that can be a key factor in developing robots with positive impressions. In this research, we carried out a collaborative project to design and develop kawaii robot prototypes in virtual spaces by American and Japanese university students. We then performed an experiment on affective evaluation of those robots using 10 adjectives: kawaii/cute, approachable, scary, trustworthy, cool, beautiful, polite, comfortable, and soft. We previously presented our statistical analysis results for the adjective “kawaii/cute.” However, the results of other adjectives, which potentially have effects on the robot impression, have not been presented yet. Therefore, in this paper, we present our further analysis of several adjectives to clarify their relationship with kawaii/cute and robot features across genders and cultures. In addition, we statistically analyzed the effects of robot pairs, adjectives, genders, and cultures. The results suggest that robots with features such as more animal-like, rounder, and shorter tend to increase positive impressions such as kawaii, approachability, beauty, comfortable, and softness. Also, we found no difference across gender and culture for the impressions on kawaii robots, which shows the possibility of expanding the concept of kawaii robots worldwide.