• Media are social actors: Individuals' social responses to social robots and mobile phones

      Lombard, Matthew; Morris, Nancy, 1953-; Liao, Tony; Zhao, Shanyang, 1957- (Temple University. Libraries, 2018)
      The Computers are Social Actors (CASA) paradigm was proposed more than two decades ago to understand humans’ interaction with computer technologies. Today, as emerging media technologies including social robots and smartphones become more personal and persuasive, questions of how users respond to them socially, what individual factors leverage the relationship, and what constitutes the social influence of these technologies need to be addressed. As an expansion of the CASA paradigm, the Media are Social Actors (MASA) paradigm was applied in the current dissertation to understand users’ social perception, social attitudes, and social behavior in their interactions with humanoid social robots and smartphones. Two lab experiments with between-subjects factorial design were conducted. A total of 110 participants were asked to interact with a humanoid social robot and a smartphone respectively in a socio-emotional context and a task-oriented context. Four pairs of social cues were compared to understand their influence on users’ anthropomorphism of the technologies. Multivariate analyses and textual analyses were conducted. Results suggested that users developed more trust in the social robot with a human voice than with a synthetic voice. Users also developed more intimacy and more interest in the social robot when the robot was paired with humanlike gestures. However, individual differences such as users’ attitudes toward robots, robot use experiences, and suspension of disbelief affected users’ psychological responses to the social robot. Although users’ responses to the smartphone did not vary based on the language styles and the modalities, factors such as individuals’ intensive smartphone use, mobile use habits, and their source orientation and re-orientation moderated the social influence of the smartphone. The dissertation has theoretical value in expanding the CASA paradigm to social robots and smartphones. It also tests the validity of the propositions of the MASA paradigm. The results can lead to more comprehensive, nuanced, and exciting discoveries of the social implications, ethical implications, and practical guides of using these emerging media technologies in the future.