How does a robot’s dialect affect trust?


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How does a robot’s dialect affect trust?

Robots are increas­ing­ly used as inter­ac­tion part­ners with humans. Social robots are designed to fol­low expect­ed behav­ioral norms when engag­ing with humans and are avail­able in dif­fer­ent designs, voic­es, and even accents. Stud­ies on dialect in robot speech yield­ed con­flict­ing find­ings: Some sug­gest that peo­ple pre­fer robots to speak with the user’s dialect, while oth­ers indi­cate with a pref­er­ence for dif­fer­ent dialects. Our study exam­ined the impact of the Berlin dialect on the per­ceived trust­wor­thi­ness and com­pe­tence of a robot. One hun­dred twen­ty-nine Ger­man native speak­ers (Mage = 32 years, SD = 12) watched an online video fea­tur­ing a Nao robot speak­ing either the Berlin dialect or stan­dard Ger­man and assessed its trust­wor­thi­ness and com­pe­tence. We found a pos­i­tive rela­tion­ship between par­tic­i­pants’ self-report­ed Berlin dialect pro­fi­cien­cy and the robot­’s trust­wor­thi­ness. There was also a pos­i­tive asso­ci­a­tion between the par­tic­i­pants’ pro­fi­cien­cy and per­for­mance in the Berlin dialect and their assess­ment of the robot­’s com­pe­tence, but only for the stan­dard Ger­man-speak­ing robot. Age, gen­der, length of res­i­den­cy in Berlin, and the device used also played a role in the assess­ments. Our study pro­vides insights for robot design and empha­sizes the impor­tance of device con­trol in online experiments.

Katharina Kühne

University of Potsdam

Katharina Kühne is a PhD student of the Potsdam Embodied Cognition Group (PECoG).

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