Implicit and explicit attitudes towards artificial agents: a cross-cultural comparison


Historically, there has been a great deal of confusion in the literature regarding cross-cultural differences in attitudes towards artificial agents and preferences for their physical appearance. Previous studies have almost exclusively assessed attitudes using self-report measures (i.e., questionnaires). In the present study, we sought to expand our knowledge on the culture of belonging on explicit and implicit attitudes towards robots and avatars. Using the Negative Attitudes Towards Robots Scale (NARS) and the Implicit Association Test (IAT) in a Japanese and Dutch sample, we investigated the effect of culture and robots’ body types on explicit and implicit attitudes across two experiments (total n = 669). Partly overlapping with our hypothesis, we found that Japanese individuals had a more positive explicit attitude towards robots compared to Dutch individuals, but no evidence of such a difference was found at the implicit level. As predicted, the implicit preference towards humans was moderate in both cultural groups, but in contrast to what we expected, neither culture nor robot embodiment influenced this preference. These results suggest that only at the explicit but not implicit level, cultural differences appear in attitudes towards robots.