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The Interaction Between Voice and Appearance in the Embodiment of a Robot Tutor

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Social Robotics (ICSR 2017)

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Computer Science ((LNAI,volume 10652))

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Robot embodiment is, by its very nature, holistic and understanding how various aspects contribute to the user perception of the robot is non-trivial. A study is presented here that investigates whether there is an interaction effect between voice and other aspects of embodiment, such as movement and appearance, in a pedagogical setting. An on-line study was distributed to children aged 11–17 that uses a modified Godspeed questionnaire. We show an interaction effect between the robot embodiment and voice in terms of perceived lifelikeness of the robot. Politeness is a key strategy used in learning and teaching, and here an effect is also observed for perceived politeness. Interestingly, participants’ overall preference was for embodiment combinations that are deemed polite and more like a teacher, but are not necessarily the most lifelike. From these findings, we are able to inform the design of robotic tutors going forward.

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  1. 1.

    Confounded post-hoc tests cannot be conducted here as there is more than one IV.

  2. 2.

    Requirements for approximating a binomial distribution with a normal distribution were met for the Z-score tests reported here.


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We thank all the students, teachers and school staff who were involved in this study and our colleague Dr. Janarthanam. This work was partially supported by the European Commission (EC) under ICT-317923 EMOTE.

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Correspondence to Helen Hastie .

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Hastie, H., Lohan, K., Deshmukh, A., Broz, F., Aylett, R. (2017). The Interaction Between Voice and Appearance in the Embodiment of a Robot Tutor. In: Kheddar, A., et al. Social Robotics. ICSR 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 10652. Springer, Cham.

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