Effects of Robotic Dogs as Catalysts for Social Interactions: A Preliminary Study


As robotics technologies are advancing at an ever increasing rate, robotic pets have emerged in the market offering companionship and socialization to users, including robot-assisted activity. However, the effects of robotic analogues of living dogs as social catalysts remain unclear. Can robotic dogs act as catalysts for human social interactions like real dogs? How do social behaviors differ toward a person with a robotic dog versus one with real dog? To address these issues, we conducted two experiments, first, to investigate whether or not pet dogs can serve as a social catalyst to facilitate interpersonal interaction in our current society; and secondly, to explore whether or not the effect of promoting interpersonal social behaviors can be achieved when robotic dogs replace real pets. The results revealed that pet dogs indeed could serve as social catalysts that promoted interpersonal interactions and increased the frequency and the duration of social behavior of participants. The best results were seen especially among close friends. However, the robotic dogs had no significant effect on interpersonal interactions. Instead, the effect of different venues on the social interaction was more significant. In conclusion, implications for use of robotic pets as social catalysts and suggestions for future research are provided.

Author Information
Hsiao-Chen You, National Taichung University of Science and Technology, Taiwan
Ying-Yu Huang, AJ Mobi Integrated Marketing Co., Ltd, Taiwan
Yi-Shin Deng, National Taiwan University, Taiwan

Paper Information
Conference: ACAH2016
Stream: Humanities - Aesthetics, Design

This paper is part of the ACAH2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon