Media are social actors: Individuals' social responses to social robots and mobile phones
Committee memberMorris, Nancy, 1953-
Zhao, Shanyang, 1957-
DepartmentMedia & Communication
Computers Are Social Actors
Permanent link to this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12613/3871
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe 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.
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Social Anxiety in Context: The Effects of Social StructureHeimberg, Richard G.; Alloy, Lauren B.; Johnson, Kareem; Giovannetti, Tania; Weisberg, Robert W.; Chen, Eunice Y. (Temple University. Libraries, 2015)Person-environment interactions are the rule, not only for development but also for moment-to-moment experience. Knowledge about environmental influences on the manifestation of psychological symptoms is an important area of research, particularly with regard to social anxiety where symptoms vary dramatically depending on the social context. Like other forms of anxiety, social anxiety is thought to have evolved to help us pay attention to, assess, and respond to potential (in this case, intra-species) threats. The current study was based on (1) the theoretical proposition that social anxiety represents an adaptation to hierarchical, or agonic, modes of social organization; (2) the observation that in the non-hierarchical hedonic systems seen in some of our closest primate relatives, submissiveness is not required for group functioning, and (3) more recent empirical data showing that social anxiety symptoms are dependent on contextual factors. The current study integrated these three ideas and examined whether participating in a hedonic system, as compared to an agonic system, diminishes social anxiety, and whether social context moderates the relationship between trait social anxiety and activation of state anxiety. Participants of all different levels of trait social anxiety were randomly assigned to play a group game, the context and rules of which were consistent with either agonic or hedonic social structures. Self-reported anxiety and behaviors associated with social anxiety were then measured. Results from the experiment were mixed, sometimes seemingly conflicting, and therefore difficult to interpret. The more hierarchical, agonic social system was associated with higher anxious affect. However, the type of social system did not appear to affect self-reported submissive behavior, social comparison, or social behavior. Additionally, experimental condition did not moderate the effect of trait social anxiety on these variables. Although our findings were mixed, they hint at the role of social structure in the activation of anxious affect.
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