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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access August 28, 2019

Cultural differences in speed adaptation in human-robot interaction tasks

Fabio Vannucci, Alessandra Sciutti, Hagen Lehman, Giulio Sandini, Yukie Nagai and Francesco Rea


In social interactions, human movement is a rich source of information for all those who take part in the collaboration. In fact, a variety of intuitive messages are communicated through motion and continuously inform the partners about the future unfolding of the actions. A similar exchange of implicit information could support movement coordination in the context of Human-Robot Interaction. In this work, we investigate how implicit signaling in an interaction with a humanoid robot can lead to emergent coordination in the form of automatic speed adaptation. In particular, we assess whether different cultures – specifically Japanese and Italian – have a different impact on motor resonance and synchronization in HRI. Japanese people show a higher general acceptance toward robots when compared with Western cultures. Since acceptance, or better affiliation, is tightly connected to imitation and mimicry, we hypothesize a higher degree of speed imitation for Japanese participants when compared to Italians. In the experimental studies undertaken both in Japan and Italy, we observe that cultural differences do not impact on the natural predisposition of subjects to adapt to the robot.


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Received: 2018-12-13
Accepted: 2019-06-25
Published Online: 2019-08-28

© 2019 Fabio Vannucci et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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