Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Women might prefer robots with female voices

In Wired for Speech by Clifford Nass and Scott Brave, researchers tested whether the gender of a voice could persuade your decision.

In particular, they tested the Similarity Effect. Would women be more likely to take advice when given by a female voice, and men take the advice of a male voice?

The answer is yes.

Summary: Female participants found a female voice to be more trustworthy than a male voice, while males felt that male voices were more trustworthy.

The researchers asked 24 women and 24 men to respond to 6 scenarios. Here's an example scenario:

"Amy and John are college students who have been living together in an apartment near campus. John's allowance buys food and they are sharing the rent. Amy has told her parents that she is rooming with another girl, and now her parents are coming to visit their daughter. They have never seen the apartment. Should Amy ask John to move out for the time that her parents are in town? "

Given this scenario, they received advice from a voice which was either "male" (110 Hz) or "female" (210 Hz). For example:

"She should ask him to leave for a while. If she tells the truth to her parents, it would cause a lot of unnecessary trouble. She can always confess her situation to her parents later when she feels that it is the right time. "

The results showed that women agreed more with the advice given by a "female" voice than with a male voice, and vice versa.

So perhaps, to make robots more accessible to women, we need to give them female characteristics such as voice. And maybe that's why I like Rosie the Robot so much.

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