Japan has more robots than any other country with robots contributing to many areas of society, including manufacturing, healthcare, and entertainment. However, few studies have examined Japanese attitudes toward robots, and none has used implicit measures. This study compares attitudes among the faculty of a US and a Japanese university. Although the Japanese faculty reported many more experiences with robots, implicit measures indicated both faculties had more pleasant associations with humans. In addition, although the US faculty reported people were more threatening than robots, implicit measures indicated both faculties associated weapons more strongly with robots than with humans. Despite the media’s hype about Japan’s robot ‘craze,’ response similarities suggest factors other than attitude better explain robot adoption. These include differences in history and religion, personal and human identity, economic structure, professional specialization, and government policy. Japanese robotics offers a unique reference from which other nations may learn.
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We are grateful for the helpful advice and kind assistance of Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, Mahzarin Banaji, Stephen J. Cowley, Anthony Faiola, Sara A. Hook, Hiroshi Ishiguro, Josette Jones, Peter H. Kahn, Sara Kiesler, Tatsuya Nomura, Satoshi V. Suzuki, Hiroaki Yamano, Hiroki Yokota, and three anonymous reviewers.
How many times in the past one (1) year have you read robot-related stories, comics, news articles, product descriptions, conference papers, journal papers, blogs, or other material? (6-point scale) 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or more
How many times in the past one (1) year have you watched robot-related programs on film, television, DVD, the Internet, or other media?
How many times in the past ten (10) years have you had physical contact with a robot?
How many times in the past ten (10) years have you attended robot-related lectures, exhibitions, trade shows, competitions, or other events?
How many times in your life have you built or programmed a robot?
Attitudes toward robots
Select the statement that best describes your opinion. (7-point scale)
I strongly prefer robots to people. (+3)
I like robots and people equally. (0)
I strongly prefer people to robots. (−3)
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Robots are much more threatening than people. (+ 3)
Robots and people are equally threatening. (0)
People are much more threatening than robots. (−3)
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MacDorman, K.F., Vasudevan, S.K. & Ho, C. Does Japan really have robot mania? Comparing attitudes by implicit and explicit measures. AI & Soc 23, 485–510 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-008-0181-2
- Humanoid Robot
- Implicit Association Test
- Category Boundary
- Target Concept
- Explicit Measure