Inducing Mimicry through Auditory Icons

Norhayati Yusof,Hanif Baharin,Suzilah Ismail,Fazillah Mohmad Kamal

Auditory icons are snippet of everyday sounds that represent information or processes. We proposed that auditory icons may be used in persuasive technology to influence behaviour through human’s tendency to mimic. Using pre-recorded sound of biting a crunchy apple as auditory icon, we created two auditory icon sound files. These sound files were played in a loop (hence referred to as auditory icon loop) to the participants while they were eating an apple. They were told that there was a remote person eating an apple at the same time and the sounds they heard through the speaker in front of them represent each bite that person take in real-time. Based on previous studies that shows that gender plays a role in mimicry, we conducted two experiments, with male participants and with female participants. In both experiments, the participants were randomly exposed to non-periodic auditory icon loop and periodic auditory icon loop. If the participants took a bite within five seconds after an auditory icon is played, then bite is defined as mimicked bite. Higher ratios of mimicked bites compared to non-mimicked bites mean that participants mimicked the auditory icon loop. The results show that male participants mimicked the nonperiodic icon loop but not the periodic icon loop. Female participants did not mimic both non-periodic and periodic icon loop. These results may be useful in informing the design of persuasive technology that uses auditory icons.

Volume 11 | 08-Special Issue

Pages: 1218-1229