Data_Sheet_1_Otakuism and the Appeal of Sex Robots.docx

Social robots are becoming increasingly prevalent in everyday life and sex robots are a sub-category of especially high public interest and controversy. Starting from the concept of the otaku, a term from Japanese youth culture that describes secluded persons with a high affinity for fictional manga characters, we examine individual differences behind sex robot appeal (anime and manga fandom, interest in Japanese culture, preference for indoor activities, shyness). In an online-experiment, 261 participants read one out of three randomly assigned descriptions of future technologies (sex robot, nursing robot, genetically modified organism) and reported on their overall evaluation, eeriness, and contact/purchase intentions. Higher anime and manga fandom was associated with higher appeal for all three future technologies. For our male subsample, sex robots and GMOs stood out as shyness yielded a particularly strong relationship to contact/purchase intentions for these new technologies.