Research Abstract


Huggable communication medium decreases cortisol levels

2013年10月23日 Scientific Reports 3 : 3034 doi: 10.1038/srep03034 (2013)


住岡 英信1, 中江 文2, 金井 良太3,4 & 石黒 浩1,5

  1. 国際電気通信基礎技術研究所 石黒浩特別研究室
  2. 大阪大学大学院医学系研究科 麻酔集中治療医学講座
  3. ロンドン大学ユニバーシティカレッジ 認知神経科学研究所(英国)
  4. サセックス大学 サックラー意識研究センター(英国)
  5. 大阪大学大学院基礎工学研究科 システム創成専攻

Interpersonal touch is a fundamental component of social interactions because it can mitigate physical and psychological distress. To reproduce the psychological and physiological effects associated with interpersonal touch, interest is growing in introducing tactile sensations to communication devices. However, it remains unknown whether physical contact with such devices can produce objectively measurable endocrine effects like real interpersonal touching can. We directly tested this possibility by examining changes in stress hormone cortisol before and after a conversation with a huggable communication device. Participants had 15-minute conversations with a remote partner that was carried out either with a huggable human-shaped device or with a mobile phone. Our experiment revealed significant reduction in the cortisol levels for those who had conversations with the huggable device. Our approach to evaluate communication media with biological markers suggests new design directions for interpersonal communication media to improve social support systems in modern highly networked societies.