Engaging Robots: Easing Complex Human-Robot Teamwork Using Backchanneling.


Jin Joo Lee

Jin Joo Lee

MF Jung, JJ Lee, N DePalma, S Adalgeirsson, et al (2013). "Engaging Robots: Easing Complex Human-Robot Teamwork using Backchanneling." In Proceedings of the Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social (San Antonio, Texas).


People are increasingly working with robots in teams and recent research has focused on how human-robot teams function, but little attention has yet been paid to the role of social signaling behavior in human-robot teams. In a controlled experiment, we examined the role of backchanneling and task complexity on team functioning and perceptions of the robots’ engagement and competence. Based on results from 73 participants interacting with autonomous humanoid robots as part of a human-robot team (one participant, one confederate, and three robots), we found that when robots used backchanneling team functioning improved and the robots were seen as more engaged. Ironically, the robots using backchanneling were perceived as less competent than those that did not. Our results suggest that backchanneling plays an important role in human-robot teams and that the design and implementation of robots for human-robot teams may be more effective if backchanneling capability is provided.

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