Communication via warm haptic interfaces does not increase social warmth

Christian Willemse (Corresponding Author), Dirk K.J. Heylen, Johannes Bernardus Fransiscus van Erp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
17 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Affective haptic interfaces are designed to influence one’s emotional and physiological state via the sense of touch, and may be applied as communicationmedia to increase the sense of closeness. Recent research suggests that stimulation with physical warmth can enhance this interpersonal closeness: a physical-social warmth link. It is often suggested that this link may be particularly suitable for application in affective haptic interfaces, but the scientific evidence is inconclusive. In this work we investigated whether adding physical warmth to a communication medium—an interactive teddy bear —could increase social connectedness between remotely located interactants and could provide physiological comfort during stressful circumstances. Moreover, we investigated whether the warmth could best be presented to the users as a mere physical attribute of the medium or as mediated body heat; thereby manipulating the attribution of the warmth to either a non-social or social source. The results of two studies in which participants ostensibly received a message from an unknown other (Study 1, N = 65) or comforting messages from their own partner (Study 2, N = 62), and meta-analyses did not provide support for the hypotheses that warmth, purely physical or attributed to one’s partner, can positively influence one’s social and physiological state. Although future research should corroborate our findings, they indicate that the physical-social warmth link may not be as applicable in affective mediated communication as suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-344
Number of pages16
JournalJournal on multimodal user interfaces
Volume12
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018

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Haptic interfaces
Communication
Hot Temperature

Keywords

  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Computer mediated communication
  • Physical warmth
  • Social warmth
  • Attribution
  • Affective haptics

Cite this

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title = "Communication via warm haptic interfaces does not increase social warmth",
abstract = "Affective haptic interfaces are designed to influence one’s emotional and physiological state via the sense of touch, and may be applied as communicationmedia to increase the sense of closeness. Recent research suggests that stimulation with physical warmth can enhance this interpersonal closeness: a physical-social warmth link. It is often suggested that this link may be particularly suitable for application in affective haptic interfaces, but the scientific evidence is inconclusive. In this work we investigated whether adding physical warmth to a communication medium—an interactive teddy bear —could increase social connectedness between remotely located interactants and could provide physiological comfort during stressful circumstances. Moreover, we investigated whether the warmth could best be presented to the users as a mere physical attribute of the medium or as mediated body heat; thereby manipulating the attribution of the warmth to either a non-social or social source. The results of two studies in which participants ostensibly received a message from an unknown other (Study 1, N = 65) or comforting messages from their own partner (Study 2, N = 62), and meta-analyses did not provide support for the hypotheses that warmth, purely physical or attributed to one’s partner, can positively influence one’s social and physiological state. Although future research should corroborate our findings, they indicate that the physical-social warmth link may not be as applicable in affective mediated communication as suggested.",
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Communication via warm haptic interfaces does not increase social warmth. / Willemse, Christian (Corresponding Author); Heylen, Dirk K.J.; van Erp, Johannes Bernardus Fransiscus.

In: Journal on multimodal user interfaces, Vol. 12, No. 4, 12.2018, p. 329-344.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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