Culture, Politeness and Directive Compliance: Does Saying 'Please' Make a Difference?
Keywords: etiquette, culture, politeness, directive compliance
Abstract: We argue that traditional cultural factors (from Hofstede, Nisbett, etc.) are too abstract to provide good, predictive models of important human performance behaviours such as compliance with directives. Instead, we focus on culture-specific social interaction behaviours in language, gesture, etc. (i.e., "etiquette") as a more concrete and quantifiable bridge between abstract cultural factors and human performance. We describe a computational model of etiquette and face threat perception we have developed, called CECAEDA (Computational Effects of Cultural Attributes and Etiquette on Directive Adherence). CECAEDA consists of four parts: (1) a culturally universal model of politeness perceptions, their causes and effects, (2) a culturally universal model of the chain from perception through decision making to the execution of compliance behaviours in response to directives, (3) a culturally universal set of hypotheses about how politeness perceptions affect directive compliance, and (4) a set of hypotheses about how cultural factors (specifically, those proposed by Hofstede  affect etiquette perceptions and, thus, directive compliance in culture-specific ways. Each component is discussed in detail, followed by a brief presentation of our research testbed and paradigm for evaluating CECAEDA.