Sociable Robots: The Role of Presence and Task in Human-Robot Interaction

Kidd, C. "Sociable Robots: The Role of Presence and Task in Human-Robot Interaction"


Human-robot interaction is an emerging area of study that is developing an understanding of how to build robots that are useful and effective in helping people perform tasks in particular domains. In particular, social robots, or those that help people as capable partners rather than as tools, are believed to be of greatest use for applications in entertainment, education, and healthcare because of their potential to be perceived as trusting, helpful, reliable, and engaging. This thesis explores how the robot's physical presence and proximity to a person influence a person's perception of these characteristics. Results from two experiments are reported: the first shows differences in participant responses to a robot, an animated character, and a human and the second shows the outcome of participants interacting with a robot or a robot presented on a television in two different types of tasks. Responses to the interactions were collected via questionnaire and videotape and are reported on scales measuring trust, perceived information quality, altruism, level of engagement, reliability, immediacy, credibility, and persuasiveness. The results of this research will contribute towards the goal of building robots that can effectively communicate with and assist humans in a variety of applications in domains that I believe will benefit from social robots.

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