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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access October 16, 2019

Social robots: The influence of human and robot characteristics on acceptance

Laura Bishop, Anouk van Maris, Sanja Dogramadzi and Nancy Zook

Abstract

Research in social robotics is focused on the development of robots that can provide physical and cognitive support in a socially interactive way. Whilst some studies have previously investigated the importance of user characteristics (age, gender, education, robot familiarity, mood) in the acceptance of social robots as well as the influence a robot’s displayed emotion (positive, negative, neutral) has on the interaction, these two aspects are rarely combined. Therefore, this study attempts to highlight the need to consider the influence that both human and robot attributes can have on social robot acceptance. Eighty-six participants completed implicit and explicit measures of mood before viewing one of three video clips containing a positive, negative or neutral social robot (Pepper) followed by questionnaires on robot acceptance and perception. Gender and education were not associated with acceptance; however, several constructs of the acceptance questionnaire significantly correlated with age and mood. For example, those younger and those experiencing sadness or loneliness were more dependent on the opinions of others (as measured by the social influence construct of the acceptance questionnaire). This highlights the importance of mood in the introduction of social robots into vulnerable populations. Robot familiarity also correlated with robot acceptance with those more familiar finding the robot less useful and less enjoyable, this is important as robots become more prominent in society. Displayed robot emotion significantly influenced acceptance and perception with the positive robot appearing more childlike than the negative and neutral robot, and the neutral robot the least helpful. These findings emphasise the importance of both user and robot characteristics in the successful integration of social robots.

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Received: 2019-05-02
Accepted: 2019-09-12
Published Online: 2019-10-16

© 2019 Laura Bishop et al., published by De Gruyter

This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.

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