Effects of Realistic Appearance and Consumer Gender on Pet Robot Adoption

Kim, Jun SanKang, DahyunChoi, JongSukKwak, Sona
Issue Date
International Conference on Social Robotics
14th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2022
This study investigates how lifelike appearance of pet robots affects the consumers’ adoption. Traditionally, the uncanny valley hypothesis is commonly assumed in predicting the effects of robots’ appearances. However, because this theory mainly applies to humanoids, we postulated that the effect of lifelikeness of pet robots on human perceptions of them might differ from what the theory expects. Thus, by adopting theories from marketing and consumer research, we hypothesized that pet robots with lifelike appearance would be preferred to pet robots with machinelike appearances. We also predicted that the positive effect of lifelike appearance would be reduced for female consumers. The experimental results confirmed the formulated hypotheses. That is, for male consumers, the lifelikeness of appearance positively affected the adoption, whereas for female consumers, such positive effects were not observed. The results of the study suggest that the effect of lifelikeness in appearance is more complex than what the uncanny valley hypothesis predicts. That is, for commercial pet robots, whose lifelike appearance may not provide any mortality or pathogen salience, lifelike appearance of robots with animal forms may inspire positive feelings in humans. ? 2022, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
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