Abstract robots with an attitude: Applying interpersonal relation models to human-robot interaction


This paper explores new possibilities for social interaction between a human user and a robot with an abstract shape. The social interaction takes place by simulating behaviors such as submissiveness and dominance and analyzing the corresponding human reactions. We used an object that has no resemblance with human features in its shape or expression mode, in order to exclude the effect of these features on the human behavior. An intelligent walk-in closet was made to behave either dominantly or submissively using lighting effects. The behaviors of the closet were rated by participants using the Bem Sex Role Inventory in a pilot study, resulting in the selection of one submissive and one dominant lighting behavior for the closet. Participants' personality was measured using the Social Dominance Orientation questionnaire. These data were then compared to measurements of user satisfaction and feelings of dominance, arousal, and valence after scenario completion. A surprising effect was revealed as participants with a dominant personality reported feeling submissive to a dominant system, while in comparison, persons with a submissive personality felt more dominant in the same condition. Furthermore, it was found that a submissive system was generally more preferred by users. We draw a careful conclusion that people interact differently with systems that show human-like attitudes, than they would in response to similar attitude expressed by other person. These findings need to be investigated further with dominant/submissive nonverbal behaviors that are then simulated on a humanoid robot.

In 2013 IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Communication (ROMAN)
Martijn ten Bhömer
Martijn ten Bhömer
Assistant Professor of Product Design & Manufacture

Specialized in the design, research and development of intelligent products.