A new study published in Computers in Human Behavior looks at the issue from a human’s perspective and asks how a robot’s presentation affects how it is perceived.
“For robot designers, this means greater emphasis on role assignments to robots,” said S. Shyam Sundar, co-director of Penn State University’s Media Effects Research Laboratory. “How the robot is presented to users can send important signals to users about its helpfulness and intelligence, which can have consequences for how it is received by end users.”
To gain a better understanding of how we perceive robots, researchers recorded 60 interactions between college students and Nao, a social robot developed by French company Aldebaran Robotics.
The research team framed the interactions using two different scenarios. First, the college participant could help Nao calibrate its eyes. Second, Nao could examine the participant’s eyes, like an optometrist might, and make recommendations on how to improve vision. After the framed interactions, the student participants completed a survey about their perceptions of Nao, which were then analyzed by the researchers.