Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
In This Section

Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics

Editor-in-Chief: Schöner, Gregor

1 Issue per year

Open Access
See all formats and pricing
In This Section

Cross-cultural study on human-robot greeting interaction: acceptance and discomfort by Egyptians and Japanese

Gabriele Trovato
  • Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, #41-304, 17 Kikui-cho, Shinjuku-ku, 162-0044 Tokyo, Japan
/ Massimiliano Zecca
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University, and the Humanoid Robotics Institute, Waseda University
/ Salvatore Sessa
  • School of Innovative Design Engineering Mechatronics and Robotic Dept., Egypt-Japan University of Science and Technology, Borg El Arab, 21934 Alexandria, Egypt
/ Lorenzo Jamone
  • Instituto de Sistemas e Robotica, Instituto Superior Tecnico, Av. Rovisco Pais 1, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
/ Jaap Ham
  • Department of Innovation Sciences, Eindhoven University of Technology, P.O. Box 513 5600 MB, IPO 1.20, Eindhoven, the Netherlands
/ Kenji Hashimoto
  • Corresponding author
  • Faculty of Science and Engineering, Waseda University
  • Email:
/ Atsuo Takanishi
  • Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering, Waseda University; and director of the Humanoid Robotics Institute (HRI), Waseda University
Published Online: 2013-12-10 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/pjbr-2013-0006


As witnessed in several behavioural studies, a complex relationship exists between people’s cultural background and their general acceptance towards robots. However, very few studies have investigated whether a robot’s original language and gesture based on certain culture have an impact on the people of the different cultures. The purpose of this work is to provide experimental evidence which supports the idea that humans may accept more easily a robot that can adapt to their specific culture. Indeed, improving acceptance and reducing discomfort is fundamental for future deployment of robots as assistive, health-care or companion devices into a society. We conducted a Human- Robot Interaction experiment both in Egypt and in Japan. Human subjects were engaged in a simulated video conference with robots that were greeting and speaking either in Arabic or in Japanese. The subjects completed a questionnaire assessing their preferences and their emotional state, while their spontaneous reactions were recorded in different ways. The results suggest that Egyptians prefer the Arabic robot, while they feel a sense of discomfort when interacting with the Japanese robot; the opposite is also true for the Japanese. These findings confirm the importance of the localisation of a robot in order to improve human acceptance during social human-robot interaction.

Keywords: Human-Robot Interaction; Humanoid robots; Cultural differences; Technology social factors; Social robotics

  • [1] P. Flandorfer, Population Ageing and Socially Assistive Robots for Elderly Persons: The Importance of Sociodemographic Factors for User Acceptance, International Journal of Popula-tion Research, 2012 (2012), Article ID 829835, 13 pages,. DOI:10.1155/2012/829835 [Crossref]

  • [2] A. Weiss, V. Evers, Exploring cultural factors in human-robot interaction: A matter of personality?, International Workshop on Comparative Informatics (IWCI-2011), Copenhagen, Denmark, 2011

  • [3] F. Eyssel and D. Kuchenbrandt, Social categorization of social robots: Anthropomorphism as a function of robot group membership, British Journal of Social Psychology, 51 (4) (2012), 724-731 [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • [4] T. Nomura, T. Suzuki, T. Kanda, J. Han, N. Shin, J. Burke, K. Kato, What people assume about humanoid and animal-type robots: cross-cultural analysis between Japan, Korean, and the United States, International Journal of Humanoid Robotics, 05(1) (2008), 25-46

  • [5] H. R. Lee, J. Sung, S. abanovic, J. Han, Cultural Design of Domestic Robots: A Study of User Expectations in Korea and the United States, The 21st IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Paris, France, 2012

  • [6] I. Asimov, The Machine and the Robot. Science Fiction: Contemporary Mythology, P.S. Warrick, M. H. Greenberg, J. D. Olander (Ed.), Harper and Row, 1978

  • [7] F. L. Schodt, Inside the Robot Kingdom - Japan, Mechatronics, and Coming Robotopia, Kodansha, Tokyo, New York, 1988

  • [8] B. Latour, Nous n’avons jamais été modernes (La découverte). English translation revised and augmented: We Have Never Been Modern, Simon and Schuster, 31 England and Harvard University Press, 1991

  • [9] R. Nisbett, The Geography of Thought: How Asians and Westerners Think Differently...and Why, Free press, New York, 2004

  • [10] F. Kaplan, Who is afraid of the humanoid? Investigating cultural differences in the acceptance of robots, International Journalof Humanoid Robotics, 1 (3) (2004), 465-480

  • [11] M. E. Rosheim, Leonardo’s Lost Robots, Springer, 2006

  • [12] J. P. Telotte, Replications: A Robotic History of the Science Fiction Film, University of Illinois Press, 1995

  • [13] L.Graillat, America vs. Japan: the Influence of American Comics on Manga, Refractory: A Journal of Entertainment Media, 10, 2006

  • [14] C. Bartneck, T. Suzuki, T. Kanda, T. Nomura, The influence of people’s culture and prior experiences with Aibo on their attitude towards robots, AI & Soc., 21 (2007), 217-230

  • [15] K. O. Arras, Do we want to share our lives and bodies with robots? A 2000-people survey, Autonomous Systems Lab, EPFL, Technical Report Nr. 0605-001, 2005. Available: http:// publications.asl.ethz.ch/files/arras05want.pdf

  • [16] M. Saif, The evolution of persian thought regarding art and figural representation in secular and religious life after the coming of Islam. Macalester Islam Journal, 1(2) (2006), 53-95

  • [17] R. M. Thomas, Computer technology: an example of decisionmaking in technology transfer. Educational technology - its’ creation, development and cross-cultural transfer. In: R.M. Thomas, V. N. Kobayashi (Ed.), Pergamon Press, Oxford, 1987, 25-34

  • [18] E. M. Rogers EM, Diffusion of innovations, 4 ed., The Free Press, New York, 1995

  • [19] S. K. Fan, Japanese communication beyond language: from the viewpoint of Hong Kong Chinese (in Japanese), Kanda University of International Studies, 2002, 21-35

  • [20] Y. H. Zoubir, Doing business in Egypt, Thunderbird Interna-tional Business Review, 42 (3) (2001), 329-347

  • [21] M. Yamamoto, T. Watanabe, Time Delay Effects of Utterance to Communicative Actions on Greeting Interaction by Using a Voice- Driven Embodied Interaction System, Proceedings of International Symposium on Computational Intelligence in Robotics and Automation, 2003, 217-222

  • [22] S. Suzuki, Y. Fujimoto, T. Yamaguchi, Can differences of nationalities be induced and measured by robot gesture communication?, 4th International Conference on Human System Interactions (HSI), 2011, 357-362

  • [23] H. Aoki, Y. Fujimoto, S. Suzuki, E. Sato-Shimokawara, T. Yamaguchi, Interaction robot considered difference of culture and physiological responses on greeting with the robot, SICE Annual Conference 2011, 2510-2513

  • [24] M. Makatche, R. Simmons, M. Sakr, M. Ziadee, Expressing Ethnicity through Behaviors of a Robot Character, Proceedings of the 8th ACM/IEEE international conference on Human-robot interaction (HRI), Tokyo, Japan, 2013, 357-364, arXiv:1303.3592

  • [25] L. D. Riek, N. Mavridis, S. Antali, N. Darmaki, Z. Ahmed, M. Al- Neyadi, A. Alketheri, Ibn Sina Steps Out: Exploring Arabic Attitudes Toward Humanoid Robots, in Proceedings of Second International Symposium on New Frontiers in Human-Robot Interaction, Leicester, UK, 2010

  • [26] N. Mavridis, M.S. Katsaiti, S. Naef, A. Falasi, A. Nuaimi, H. Araifi, A. Kitbi, Opinions and attitudes towards humanoid robots in the Middle East, Springer Journal of AI and Society, 27(4) (2012), 517-534, DOI: 10.1007/s00146-011-0370-2 [Crossref]

  • [27] G. Trovato, M. Zecca, S. Sessa, L. Jamone, J. Ham, K. Hashimoto, A. Takanishi, Towards culture-specific robot customisation: a study on greeting interaction with Egyptians, The 22nd International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), Gyeongju, South Korea, 2013

  • [28] N. Endo, A. Takanishi, Development of Whole-body Emotional Expression Humanoid Robot for ADL-assistive RT services, Journalof Robotics and Mechatronics 23(6) (2011), 969-977

  • [29] T. Kishi, T. Otani, N. Endo, P. Kryczka, K. Hashimoto, K. Nakata, A. Takanishi, Development of Expressive Robotic Head for Bipedal Humanoid Robot, Proceedings of the IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems, Vila Moura, Portugal, 2012, 4584-4589

  • [30] G. Trovato, T. Kishi, N. Endo, K. Hashimoto, A. Takanishi, A Cross- Cultural Study on Generation of Culture Dependent Facial Expressions of Humanoid Social Robot, International Conference ofSocial Robotics, Chengdu, China, 2012, 35-44

  • [31] G. Metta, P. Fitzpatrick, L. Natale, Yarp: yet another robot platform, International Journal on Advanced Robotics Sys-tems, special Issue on Software Development and Integration in Robotics, 3(1), (2006) 43-48

  • [32] D. Morris, Bodytalk: a world guide to gestures, Ed. Jonathan Cape, University of Michigan, 1994

  • [33] T. D. Blumenthal, B. N. Cuthbert, D. L. Filion, S. Hackley, O. V. Lipp, A. van Boxtel, Committee report: guidelines for human startle eyeblink electromyographic studies, Psychophysiology 42, 2005, 1-15 [PubMed]

  • [34] P. Cipresso, S. Serino, D. Villani, C. Repetto, L. Sellitti, G. Albani, A. Mauro, A. Gaggioli, G. Riva, Is your phone so smart to affect your state? An exploratory study based on psychophysiological measures, Neurocomputing 84, 2012, 23-30 [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • [35] S. Kaiser, T. Wehrle, Facial Expressions as Indicators of Appraisal Processes. In K. R. Scherer, A. Schorr, & T. Johnstone, Appraisal processes in emotions: Theory, methods, research, Oxford University Press, New York, 2001, 285-300

  • [36] C. Bartneck, E. Croft, D. Kulic, Measuring the anthropomorphism, animacy, likeability, perceived intelligence and perceived safety of robots, Proceedings of the Metrics for Human-Robot Interaction Workshop in affiliation with the 3rd ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, Technical Report 471, Amsterdam, 2008, 37-44

  • [37] W.H. Kruskal, W.A. Wallis, Use of ranks in one-criterion variance analysis, Journal of the American Statistical Association 47 (260), 1952, 583-621 [Web of Science]

  • [38] H. B. Mann, R. Whitney, Donald R, On a Test of Whether one of Two Random Variables is Stochastically Larger than the Other, Annals of Mathematical Statistics 18 (1) (1947), 50-60

  • [39] D. George, P. Mallery, SPSS for Windows step by step: A simple guide and reference, 11.0 update (4th ed.), Allyn & Bacon, Boston, 2003

  • [40] B. Reeves, C. Nass, The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television and New Media Like Real People and Places, University Press, Cambridge, 1996

  • [41] C. Nass, K. M. Lee, Does computer-synthesized speech manifest personality? Experimental tests of recognition, similarityattraction, and consistency-attraction., Journal of ExperimentalPsychology: Applied 7(3) (2001) 171-181.

  • [42] C. Nass, Y. Moon, et al., Are people polite to computers? Responses to computerbased interviewing systems, Journal of Ap-plied Social Psychology 29(5) (1999), 1093-1110

  • [43] P. Brown, Politeness: Some Universals in Language Usage, Cambridge University Press, 1987.

  • [44] C. H. Lovelock, L. Wright, Principles of service marketing and management, Prentice Hall, 2002.

  • [45] V. Evers, Cross-cultural Differences in Understanding Human- Computer Interfaces, in Adjunct Proceedings of the 13th British Computer Society Annual Conference on Human Computer Interaction (1998, Sheffield, UK), Sheffield, UK, 1998, 88-89

About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-10

Published in Print: 2013-12-01

Citation Information: Paladyn, Journal of Behavioral Robotics, ISSN (Print) 2081-4836, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/pjbr-2013-0006. Export Citation

This content is open access.

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in