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Open AccessArticle

Differential Effect of the Physical Embodiment on the Prefrontal Cortex Activity as Quantified by Its Entropy

1
Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratories (HIL), Advanced Telecommunications Research Institute International (ATR), Kyoto 619-02, Japan
2
Symbiotic Intelligent Systems Research Center, Institute for Open and Transdisciplinary Research Initiatives, Osaka University, Osaka 565-0871, Japan
3
Graduate School of Engineering Science, Osaka University, Osaka 560-8531, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Entropy 2019, 21(9), 875; https://doi.org/10.3390/e21090875
Received: 19 July 2019 / Revised: 28 August 2019 / Accepted: 4 September 2019 / Published: 8 September 2019
Computer-mediated-communication (CMC) research suggests that unembodied media can surpass in-person communication due to their utility to bypass the nonverbal components of verbal communication such as physical presence and facial expressions. However, recent results on communicative humanoids suggest the importance of the physical embodiment of conversational partners. These contradictory findings are strengthened by the fact that almost all of these results are based on the subjective assessments of the behavioural impacts of these systems. To investigate these opposing views of the potential role of the embodiment during communication, we compare the effect of a physically embodied medium that is remotely controlled by a human operator with such unembodied media as telephones and video-chat systems on the frontal brain activity of human subjects, given the pivotal role of this region in social cognition and verbal comprehension. Our results provide evidence that communicating through a physically embodied medium affects the frontal brain activity of humans whose patterns potentially resemble those of in-person communication. These findings argue for the significance of embodiment in naturalistic scenarios of social interaction, such as storytelling and verbal comprehension, and the potential application of brain information as a promising sensory gateway in the characterization of behavioural responses in human-robot interaction.
Keywords: differential entropy; embodied media; tele-communication; humanoid; prefrontal cortex differential entropy; embodied media; tele-communication; humanoid; prefrontal cortex
MDPI and ACS Style

Keshmiri, S.; Sumioka, H.; Yamazaki, R.; Ishiguro, H. Differential Effect of the Physical Embodiment on the Prefrontal Cortex Activity as Quantified by Its Entropy. Entropy 2019, 21, 875.

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