Do Audio-Visual Stimuli Change Hug Impressions?

  • Masahiro ShiomiEmail author
  • Norihiro Hagita
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 10652)


This paper presents the effects of audio-visual stimuli on the impressions of hug interactions with a robot. In human-human interaction, perceived gender is an essential factor to change the impressions of haptic interactions. But in human-robot interaction, such perceived gender effects in haptic interactions have received less focus due to the difficulties of hardware limitations. Therefore, to investigate perceived gender effects in human-robot haptic interaction, we developed a system called MetaHug that consists of a huggable robot and a virtual reality application that uses a head-mounted-display to easily change the audio-visual stimuli during hug interactions. We prepared both female and male virtual agents, which use identical hug animations in the virtual application and synchronized them with the robot’s hug motions. We investigated whether our system can change the perceived genders of the robots during hug interactions by different audio-visual stimuli, and whether their perceived genders can change the impressions of the hugs. Experiment results with 16 participants showed that their perception of the robot genders was significantly changed by the virtual agents. Their hug impressions were also significantly changed by the gender of the virtual agents. These results suggest that we can change the impressions of a robot’s hugs through audio-visual stimuli.


Hug Human-robot interaction Virtual reality 



This research work was supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Numbers JP15H05322 and JP16K12505.


  1. 1.
    Grewen, K.M., Anderson, B.J., Girdler, S.S., Light, K.C.: Warm partner contact is related to lower cardiovascular reactivity. Behav. Med. 29(3), 123–130 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Cohen, S., Janicki-Deverts, D., Turner, R.B., Doyle, W.J.: Does hugging provide stress-buffering social support? A study of susceptibility to upper respiratory infection and illness. Psychol. Sci. 26(2), 135–147 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Jakubiak, B.K., Feeney, B.C.: Keep in touch: the effects of imagined touch support on stress and exploration. J. Exp. Soc. Psychol. 65, 59–67 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Gallace, A., Spence, C.: The science of interpersonal touch: an overview. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev. 34(2), 246–259 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Light, K.C., Grewen, K.M., Amico, J.A.: More frequent partner hugs and higher oxytocin levels are linked to lower blood pressure and heart rate in premenopausal women. Biol. Psychol. 69(1), 5–21 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Field, T.: Touch for socioemotional and physical well-being: a review. Dev. Rev. 30(4), 367–383 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Yu, R., Hui, E., Lee, J., Poon, D., Ng, A., Sit, K., Ip, K., Yeung, F., Wong, M., Shibata, T.: Use of a therapeutic, socially assistive pet robot (PARO) in improving mood and stimulating social interaction and communication for people with dementia: study protocol for a randomized controlled trial. JMIR Res. Protoc. 4(2) (2015)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Shiomi, M., Nakagawa, K., Shinozawa, K., Matsumura, R., Ishiguro, H., Hagita, N.: Does a robot’s touch encourage human effort? Int. J. Soc. Robot. 9, 5–15 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Sumioka, H., Nakae, A., Kanai, R., Ishiguro, H.: Huggable communication medium decreases cortisol levels. Sci. Rep. 3, 3034 (2013)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Shiomi, M., Nakata, A., Kanbara, M., Hagita, N.: A hug from a robot encourages prosocial behavior. In: 2017 26th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN) (2017, to appear)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Stier, D.S., Hall, J.A.: Gender differences in touch: an empirical and theoretical review. J. Pers. Soc. Psychol. 47(2), 440 (1984)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Suzuki, K., Yokoyama, M., Kionshita, Y., Mochizuki, T., Yamada, T., Sakurai, S., Narumi, T., Tanikawa, T., Hirose, M.: Gender-impression modification enhances the effect of mediated social touch between persons of the same gender. Augment. Hum. Res. 1(1), 1–11 (2016)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Glas, D.F., Minato, T., Ishi, C.T., Kawahara, T., Ishiguro, H.: Erica: the erato intelligent conversational android. In: 2016 25th IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RO-MAN), pp. 22–29 (2016)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ebesu Hubbard, A.S., Tsuji, A.A., Williams, C., Seatriz, V.: Effects of touch on gratuities received in same-gender and cross-gender dyads. J. Appl. Soc. Psychol. 33(11), 2427–2438 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Evans, J.A.: Cautious caregivers: gender stereotypes and the sexualization of men nurses’ touch. J. Adv. Nurs. 40(4), 441–448 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.ATR-IRCKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations