Paladyn (Jul 2022)

Social inclusion of robots depends on the way a robot is presented to observers

  • Roselli Cecilia,
  • Ciardo Francesca,
  • Wykowska Agnieszka

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 13, no. 1
pp. 56 – 66


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Research has shown that people evaluate others according to specific categories. As this phenomenon seems to transfer from human–human to human–robot interactions, in the present study we focused on (1) the degree of prior knowledge about technology, in terms of theoretical background and technical education, and (2) intentionality attribution toward robots, as factors potentially modulating individuals’ tendency to perceive robots as social partners. Thus, we designed a study where we asked two samples of participants varying in their prior knowledge about technology to perform a ball-tossing game, before and after watching a video where the humanoid iCub robot was depicted either as an artificial system or as an intentional agent. Results showed that people were more prone to socially include the robot after observing iCub presented as an artificial system, regardless of their degree of prior knowledge about technology. Therefore, we suggest that the way the robot was presented, and not the prior knowledge about technology, is likely to modulate individuals’ tendency to perceive the robot as a social partner.