Mediated social touch technologies represent touch across distance as a mechanism for building and reinforcing social relationships. We investigated how people perceive and respond to mediated affective gestures given the relationship between participants (strangers vs. known partners), the task carried out (high vs. low emotional salience tasks), and the modality of mediated communication technology used (videochat vs. projector-camera duplexed workspace vs. projector-camera with shape-memory alloy haptics). Through a between-subjects 3 × 2 × 2 factorial design with 162 participants, we found that generally a projector-camera mediated social touch system without haptics performed no worse than one with haptics on most measures. However, we saw significant interaction effects, suggesting that haptics may offer some benefit for high-emotional salience tasks on measures of expressiveness and task load. We reflect on our findings by providing concrete recommendations on technologies to use, variables to include, and measures to consider for future mediated social touch research.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded by NSF #1526085 and UMN SOBACO Faculty Award. The study was made possible by the Driven to Discover Research Facility at Minnesota State Fair. We gratefully acknowledge the contributions of the GroupLens and Wearable Technology Labs students and faculty, especially Akin Campbell, Megan Clarke, Julia Duval, Aaron Free, Brad Holschuh, Sarah McRoberts, Kenya Mejia, Baris Unver, and Jackie Zamow.
- Computer-Mediated Communication
- Haptic Interaction
- Mediated-Social Touch
- Projector-Camera Systems
- Shape Memory Alloys
- Social Disfordance
- Social Presence