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This book offers valuable new insights into the design of culturally-aware systems. In its first part, it is devoted to presenting selected Culturally-Aware Intelligent Systems devised in the field of Artificial Intelligence and its second part consists of two sub-parts that offer a source of inspiration for building modelizations of Culture and of its influence on the human mind and behavior, to be used in new Culturally-Aware Intelligent Systems. Those sub-parts present the results of experiments conducted in two fields that study Culture and its influence on the human mind’s functions: Cultural Neuroscience and Cross-Cultural Psychology.

In this era of globalization, people from different countries and cultures have the opportunity to interact directly or indirectly in a wide variety of contexts. Despite differences in their ways of thinking and reasoning, their behaviors, their values, lifestyles, customs and habits, languages, religions – in a word, their cultures – they must be able to collaborate on projects, to understand each other’s views, to communicate in such a way that they don’t offend each other, to anticipate the effects of their actions on others, and so on. As such, it is of primary importance to understand how culture affects people’s mental activities, such as perception, interpretation, reasoning, emotion and behavior, in order to anticipate possible misunderstandings due to differences in handling the same situation, and to try and resolve them.

Artificial Intelligence, and more specifically, the field of Intelligent Systems design, aims at building systems that mimic the behavior of human beings in order to complete tasks more efficiently than humans could by themselves. Consequently, in the last decade, experts and scholars in the field of Intelligent Systems have been increasingly tackling the notion of cultural awareness. A Culturally-Aware Intelligent System can be defined as a system where Culture-related or, more generally, socio-cultural information is modeled and used to design the human-machine interface, or to provide support with the task carried out by the system, be it reasoning, simulation or any other task involving cultural knowledge.



Chapter 1. Introduction

In this introductory chapter, we would like to clarify the purpose and the tools used in two disciplines, Cross-Cultural Psychology and Cultural Neuroscience, as in Part II and Part III of this book, will be presented studies conducted respectively in both research domains. We begin to describe Cognitive Psychology as Cross-Cultural Psychology is one of its subfield, then Cognitive Neuroscience as well as Cultural Psychology from which Cultural Neuroscience originated.
Colette Faucher

Culturally-Aware Intelligent Systems


Chapter 2. Culturally-Aware HCI Systems

Culture influences human–computer interaction (HCI) heavily, since the end-user is always operating within a certain cultural context. First, cultural and informational factors jointly influence the look and feel of interactive systems, for example, widget position or information density. In addition, each individual develops a specific culture (eating style, walking style, etc.)—that is, their own characteristics, behavior, attitudes, and values. Consequently, individual adaptivity is sometimes a key factor in covering the disparate needs of culturally but uniquely imprinted end-users; this may involve such tasks as reducing the workload by recognizing the individual expectations of each end-user. This improves usability, shortens training units, and improves universal access. For Culturally-Aware HCI systems socio-cultural information is used and modeled in the design and application of the human–computer interface (HCI) of such systems. In this chapter, we describe a Culturally-Aware HCI system in the context of automotive navigation that culturally adapts its interaction with the end-user over time. We analyze the way in which culture influences reasoning and the way the users feel and behave in HCI in order to establish a model for automatically adapting HCI to users using a Culturally-Aware adaptive HCI system. Fundamental theoretical reflections are presented and exemplified, and design and functioning are thus described in both theory and practice.
Rüdiger Heimgärtner

Chapter 3. Building Emic-Based Cultural Mediations to Support Artificial Cultural Awareness

Recently, studies about culturally-intelligent systems have arisen to manage digitized cultural diversity. The current systems possess an artificial awareness of cultures by mediating them through representations. Coming from an etic approach, these universal representations facilitate the mediation of different cultures but limit their understanding and thus, prevent the development of an higher degree of awareness. In this research, we propose a methodology to construct artificial cultural awareness from emic-based representations. We tested the latter through an experiment on the domain of ‘abortion’ with the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life communities.
Jean Petit, Jean-Charles Boisson, Francis Rousseaux

Chapter 4. Teaching an Australian Aboriginal Knowledge Sharing Process

Experiential learning of other cultures not only provides knowledge of the protocols and values of a different culture, but also enables the learner to realize there are such differences. It is this awareness that enables us to better understand our own culture and how we communicate within and between cultures. We are using intelligent agents modelling cultural rituals, values and emotional responses within gaming environments to support the learning of cultural competency. In this chapter, we describe the development of cultural knowledge sharing processes. Starting with information sharing, in class role play and recorded material, we are expanding the interactions and scripting options to allow students to experience the conflicts felt by Aboriginal Australians within the mainstream culture. We analyse the different teaching methods and the suitability of the material.
Cat Kutay

Chapter 5. Culturally-Aware Healthcare Systems

Cultural congruity between patients and healthcare providers has been demonstrated to be an important factor in maximizing the efficacy of healthcare. Similarly, the targeting and tailoring of health messages for a particular culture has been shown to increase their impact on patients, compared to generic messages. These findings indicate the importance of culture in designing messages, interventions, and care protocols intended to increase population health, especially for minority cultures for which generic messages and interventions represent a cultural mismatch. As our healthcare processes become automated—to increase access, decrease cost, and improve care—attention to cultural cues and their effects becomes more and more important. While cultural cues can be encoded in very subtle ways in any computer interface, embodied conversational agents provide a health communication medium in which culture can be explicitly encoded in order to achieve the same benefits of cultural congruity and tailoring seen in human-human interactions. In this chapter we review research on cultural congruity and tailoring in traditional medicine, and how these effects can be achieved with conversational agents. We present the results of an empirical study of the effects of cultural and linguistic tailoring of an animated exercise coach on user ratings of the coach’s trustworthiness and persuasiveness. We then review two large-scale systems for longitudinal health behavior change intervention which feature conversational agent-based health coaches tailored for specific minority cultures: Latinos in Northern California and those in the Boston area. We also review results from a pilot study on the effectiveness of one of these systems in promoting physical activity over a four-month period of time. We close the chapter with a research agenda and challenges for future work in culturally-tailored conversational healthcare agents.
Langxuan Yin, Timothy Bickmore

Chapter 6. Combining a Data-Driven and a Theory-Based Approach to Generate Culture-Dependent Behaviours for Virtual Characters

To incorporate culture into intelligent systems, there are two approaches that are commonly proposed. Theory-based approaches that build computational models based on cultural theories to predict culture-dependent behaviours, and data-driven approaches that rely on multimodal recordings of existing cultures. Based on our former work, we present a hybrid approach of integrating culture into a Bayesian Network that aims at predicting culture-dependent non-verbal behaviours for a given conversation. While the model is structured based on cultural theories and theoretical knowledge on their influence on prototypical behaviour, the parameters of the model are learned from a multimodal corpus recorded in the German and Japanese cultures. The model is validated in two ways: With a cross-fold validation we estimate the power of the network by predicting behaviours for parts of the recorded data that were not used to train the network. Secondly we performed a perception study with virtual characters whose behaviour is driven by the calculations of the network and are rated by members of the German and Japanese cultures. With this chapter, we aim at giving guidance for other culture-specific generation approaches by providing a hybrid methodology to build culture-specific computational models as well as potential approaches for their evaluation.
Birgit Lugrin, Julian Frommel, Elisabeth André

Chapter 7. Mental Activity and Culture: The Elusive Real World

How does culture affect mental activity? That question, applied to the design of social agents, is tackled in this chapter. Mental activity acts on the perceived outside world. It does so in three steps: perceive, interpret, select action. We see that when culture is taken into account, objective reality disappears to a large extent. Instead, perception, interpretation and action selection can differ in many ways between agents from different cultures. This complicates the design of artificially intelligent systems. On the other hand, theory exists that can help us deal with these complications. All people have a shared set of drives and capacities, on which cultures are built. Good knowledge exists on how culture affects perception, interpretation, and action. Empirical research has uncovered major distinctions in social life across cultures. One could say that intelligent agents with different cultures live in the same social world, but in systematically different social landscapes. This social world—in the form of generic sociological theory—and these differences—in the form of cross-cultural theory—can be used for designing these agents. The state of the art is still tentative. The chapter gives examples from recent literature that can serve as points of departure for further work.
Gert Jan Hofstede

Chapter 8. Affective Body Movements (for Robots) Across Cultures

Humans are very good in expressing and interpreting emotions from a variety of different sources like voice, facial expression, or body movements. In this chapter, we concentrate on body movements and show that those are not only a source of affective information but might also have a different interpretation in different cultures. To cope with these multiple viewpoints in generating and interpreting body movements in robots, we suggest a methodological approach that takes the cultural background of the developer and the user into account during the development process. We exemplify this approach with a study on creating an affective knocking movement for a humanoid robot and give details about a co-creation experiment for collecting a cross-cultural database on affective body movements and about the probabilistic model derived from this data.
Matthias Rehm

Chapter 9. Modeling Cultural and Personality Biases in Decision-Making

Cultural, personality and affective biases in decision-making are well documented. This chapter describes a method for modeling multiple decision biases resulting from cultural effects, personality traits and affective states, within the context of a symbolic cognitive-affective agent architecture: the MAMID methodology and architecture. The approach emphasizes the role of affect in decision-biases, as the primary mediating factor of a wide range of biasing effects, and lends itself to exploring alternative mechanisms mediating a wide range of decision biases. The approach provides a uniform framework for modeling both content and processing biases, in terms of parameter vectors that control processing within the architecture modules. The effects of these biases are encoded in specific values of architecture parameters, which then influence the processing of the distinct architecture modules, including the architecture topology itself. The associated simulation environment enables the modeling of a wide variety of decision-makers, in terms of distinct personality and cultural profiles, and consequent affective profile and affect-induced decision-biases. The key contribution, and distinguishing feature, of the MAMID modeling approach is the parameter space it provides for representing the interacting effects of multiple types and sources of biases, and the potential of this approach for modeling the fundamental mechanisms that mediate decision-biases.
Eva Hudlicka

Chapter 10. Considering the Needs and Culture of the Local Population in Contemporary Military Intervention Simulations: An Agent-Based Modeling Approach

In the context of increasingly complex human environments faced by the armed forces tasked with implementing peacebuilding missions in various locations around the world, operations of influence, which are non-violent undertakings aimed at conquering the support of the locals through use of trust, persuasion and material assistance, are more than ever a vital approach for successful military action. As such, they require specific and complete training and designing a computational tool to this end offers opportunity for innovative modeling of cultural complexity. This chapter presents and describes how a local culture and its specifics are delineated and represented in the SICOMORES multi-agent system and covers the issue of human needs as a socio-cultural phenomenon. It is proposed that culture has to be approached at several levels that are entwined and has to be represented accordingly in the agent population, while the culturally dependent aspect of needs can be bypassed in order to produce a universal set of needs for the context of conflict affecting civilian populations. It is then possible to computationally use these theoretically well-grounded elements to generate with a high level of detail the effects of actions of influence directed at the agents as cognitive processes.
Jean-Yves Bergier, Colette Faucher

Chapter 11. Simple Culture-Informed Cognitive Models of the Adversary

Simple cognitive models of the adversary are useful in a variety of domains, including national security analysis. Having alternative models can temper the tendency to base strategy on the best-estimate understanding of the adversary, and can encourage building a strategy that is better hedged and more adaptive. Best estimates of adversary thinking have often been wrong historically. Good cognitive models must avoid mirror-imaging, which implies recognizing ways in which the adversary’s reasoning may be affected by history, culture, personalities, and imperfect information, as well as by objective circumstances. This paper describes a series of research efforts over three decades to build such cognitive models, some as complex computer programs and some exceptionally simple. These have been used to represent Cold-War Soviet leaders, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il, and modern-day leaders of al Qaeda. Building such models has been a mixture of art and science, but has yielded useful insights, including insights about the sometimes-subtle influence of leaders’ decision-making culture.
Paul K. Davis

Cultural Neuroscience


Chapter 12. Cultural Neuroscience

Recently, the fields of cultural psychology and cognitive neuroscience have converged to form the research domain of cultural neuroscience. In this chapter, we provide an overview of the research in this burgeoning field and outline the history of the field and its origins. This specific field encompasses a wide variety of research and provides a unique lens through which to study cultural differences. Notably, research in this field has provided evidence of subtle and nuanced differences across cultures where behavioral evidence alone could not, demonstrating the importance of the neuroscientific approach. The primary focus of the chapter is to review work on the most-studied topics within cultural neuroscience: logical processing, auditory and visual perception, and social cognition. This research illustrates how culture affects how people perceive and interact with the world and the those around them, showing convergent evidence from both behavior and neuroimaging. Overall, cultural neuroscience uniquely improves understanding of cultural differences. We discuss how this discipline can inform programs aiming to promote cultural understanding and effective cross-cultural communication.
R. Thora Bjornsdottir, Nicholas O. Rule

Chapter 13. Cultural Neuroscience and the Military: Applications, Perspectives, Controversies

As we are entering the golden age of brain research and the Biotechnological Revolution in Military Affairs (BIOTECH RMA), not only civilian entities in research endeavors such as the American BRAIN initiative or the European Human Brain Project, but also security and defense communities start exploring the cognitive area of human activity. Brain research, however, due to numerous technological and other limitations, does not cover the complexity of the mind, and the cultural variety of the individuals involved. Culturally influenced cognitive, affective and even physical domains embrace emotional antecedents, conditioning, moral reasoning, perception and gaining situational awareness, communication, approach to death, somatic health, aggression, responding to narratives, group relations and many others. However, only a limited amount of other research has been performed and reported on in this aspect. Therefore, the chapter analyzes the existing evidence on the culture-brain nexus and its numerous implications for human functioning in a variety of domains, reviews the existing solutions and projects that leading military institutions already realize in the cognitive field, and in the light of newest findings of cultural neuroscience, proposes new potential solutions and enhancements for the design and conduct of military training and conduct of non-kinetic aspects of military operations. The aim of the research piece is to expand on the added value of the cultural neuroscience research to the field, and to discuss the resulting reservations and controversies of a situation in which winning “hearts and minds” might no longer be a metaphor.
Kamila Trochowska

Cross-Cultural Psychology


Chapter 14. Cross-Cultural Dimensions, Metaphors, and Paradoxes: An Exploratory Comparative Analysis

We elicit the views of 37 experts who compare three distinctive approaches to the study of cross-cultural understanding: dimensions, cultural metaphors and paradoxes. Underlying this survey, although not openly stated and hopefully invisible to the expert respondents (and confirmed by informal meetings with some of them after they completed the survey), is the assumption that complexity of understanding increases as one moves from dimensions to cultural metaphors and then to paradoxes, with feedback loops connecting them. Prior research supports this progressive perspective based on feedback loops. Also, these three approaches are among the most popular, if not the most popular, methods for describing and analyzing cross-cultural differences, similarities and areas of ambiguity. Indeed, other approaches to cross-cultural similarities and differences can be subsumed in this progressive perspective. This chapter starts with a background discussion of the rationale for focusing on these three approaches, and the justification for analyzing in a comparative manner the major issues that have surfaced about these three approaches relative to their respective strengths and weaknesses. There is then a discussion of our reasons for selecting the 19 survey items, followed by a description of the methodology used, including sample selection and statistical procedures. Since this is an exploratory study of experts, we report only the major findings. However, in the final part of the review we offer suggestions about the manner in which this progression of cross-cultural understanding (via feedback loops) can be applied in the areas of research, teaching and practice, with particular emphasis on modeling human behaviors.
Martin J. Gannon, Palash Deb

Chapter 15. A Model of Culture-Based Communication

Both humans and Virtual Agents interact in intercultural environments. Both humans and Virtual Agents need to behave appropriately according to environment. This paper proposes a dynamic modular model of culture-based communication, which reflects intercultural communication processes and can be used in the design of life-like training scenarios. Culture is defined as a semiotic process and a system, which builds upon Self and Other identities and which is sustained and modified through communication and cognitive-emotive mechanisms such as reciprocal adaptation, interactive alignment and appraisal. Communication is defined as an opportunity for meeting of Otherness. Since culture covers many different aspects of social life, people are practicing intercultural-communication on daily basis and Human-Virtual Agent interaction is seen as a form of intercultural communication.
Bilyana Martinovski

Chapter 16. Dynamic Decision Making Across Cultures

Decision making is a key cognitive process in all aspects of human life, professional as well as private life. The goals of this chapter are threefold. First, the chapter provides a short theoretical background on decision-making research highlighting the need for more comprehensive models of decision making. Whereas decision-making research has focused for a long time on simple choices, recent research has investigated the decision-making process in complex, uncertain, and dynamic situations. Second, the chapter discusses one methodology especially suited for the study of dynamic decision making. The methodology consists of situations that have been simulated on the computer and have been called, for example, microworlds, virtual environments, or serious strategy games. Third, and most importantly, the chapter will discuss new empirical research on how culture influences dynamic decision making both in microworlds and in the real world. Such findings contribute to a more comprehensive theory of decision making and allow for a better understanding of decision-making conflicts. Finally, applications of these findings are discussed, and can be utilized for cultural competence training programs or international work teams.
C. Dominik Güss, Elizabeth Teta

Chapter 17. When Beliefs and Logic Contradict: Issues of Values, Religion and Culture

In real debates, we often don’t think about the validity of the arguments from the strictly logical point of view and we often disagree even before we hear the particular argument. This chapter deals with confirmation bias in reasoning about controversial issues (in this case abortions) and it examines the effect of values (pro-life, pro-choice, neutral), religious and political affiliations on syllogistic reasoning. It shows how our beliefs prevent us from acknowledging the logic to the same type of arguments if they are made by the other side of the dispute. First, evidence of studies showing my-side bias and confirmation bias is presented, together with studies suggesting cultural differences in preference for distinct cognitive style or problem-solving. Then the results from one non-WEIRD (Slovak) sample (N = 321, M age = 20.47 years) are analysed. Participants first indicated their attitudes toward abortions in a short questionnaire (6 items from General Social Survey), then they solved 24 syllogisms, which had conclusions either in line with pro-choice or pro-life attitudes and 12 neutral syllogisms. The results showed that people holding opposing beliefs did display confirmation bias, but this confirmation bias was stronger for one side of the dispute, i.e. “pro-lifers”. Christian participants performed worse in neutral valid syllogisms, but mainly in all types of invalid syllogisms, where they differed by 10% from the non-religious participants. This chapter shows that when beliefs and evidence clash, it is often belief that wins. It is no surprise that people untrained in critical, scientific thinking resort to beliefs as their compass in navigating through the vast ocean of many conflicting information (claiming their origin in research) and many conflicting values (such as rights of children vs. rights of their mothers).
Vladimíra Čavojová

Chapter 18. Social Influence and Intercultural Differences

Culture is an important part of what individuals are and can orient their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors in several contexts. In equivalent situations, people would be likely to report different reactions depending on their cultural background. The effects of cross-cultural differences (individualistic vs. collectivistic cultures) on cognitive dissonance, social influence, and persuasion are discussed. This chapter shows that intra-individual processes, such as reduction dissonance and the processing of persuasive information, are regulated by cultural orientations and cultural aspects of the self (independent vs. interdependent self-construal). Considering these cross-cultural effects, new avenues of research open up on change and resistance to change in many fields such as health, environment, consumption, and radicalization.
Lionel Rodrigues, Jérôme Blondé, Fabien Girandola

Chapter 19. The Influence of Emotion and Culture on Language Representation and Processing

Research focused on the study of emotion, specifically how it is mentally represented in the human memory system, is of great importance within the study of cognition. The current chapter will examine the factors that make emotion words unique, as compared to other word types (e.g., concrete and abstract words) that have traditionally been of interest. In particular, key findings from studies where cognitive paradigms were used to explore emotion are emphasized (e.g., Stroop tasks, priming, implicit memory tests, eye tracking, etc.). This chapter will describe the factors that influence how those who know and use more than one language process and express emotion, and the role that language selection plays on the level of emotion that is activated and displayed. Finally, cross-cultural differences in emotion are examined, primarily as they relate to differences in individualistic and collectivistic contexts.
Dana M. Basnight-Brown, Jeanette Altarriba

Chapter 20. Creating a Culture of Innovation

Innovation—the process of generating and implementing practical new ideas—can be difficult for organizations to do successfully. To make innovation a part of an organization, it is often necessary to change the culture in ways that bring more innovative processes into the workplace. In this chapter, I explore key factors that have to be part of a culture of innovation, including the need to favour innovation over efficiency and to tolerate failure. I also explore the importance of having an ecosystem to support the development of ideas. I illustrate these concepts with an example from the US military.
Arthur B. Markman

Chapter 21. The Wonder of Reason at the Psychological Roots of Violence

Aggression, violence and destructiveness have been part of human nature since its origins. Their roots can be traced in unconscious and from an elaboration of mourning that uses division in order to save oneself from anguish and guilt, attributing all good to one’s own object of love and all evil to an external enemy—just as happens in the anguish of the stranger, considered dangerous and an enemy, not because he really is, but because onto him the internal enemy is projected. This paper seeks to show how this permanent psychic tension derives from the meeting of opposing, heterogeneous and unpredictable forces and movements which can be neutralized but are never cancelled out. The balance between instinct and rationality can be lost at all times and, on an individual or collective level, it can degenerate into pure violence. But if the life expresses itself through biological functions of a very high complexity, it also does so through history and culture. In other words, a sense of guilt elaborated for the construction of better civilization.
Mauro Maldonato
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