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BY 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter Open Access December 13, 2019

Measuring human perceptions of expressivity in natural and artificial systems through the live performance piece Time to compile

  • Catie Cuan EMAIL logo , Erin Berl and Amy LaViers


Live performance is a vehicle where theatrical devices are used to exemplify, probe, or question how humans think about objects, each other, and themselves. This paper presents work using this vehicle to explore human perceptions of robot and human capabilities. The paper documents four performances at three distinct venues where user studies were conducted in parallel to live performance. A set of best practices for successful collection of data in this manner over the course of these trials is developed. Then, results of the studies are presented, giving insight into human opinions of a variety of natural and artificial systems. In particular, participants are asked to rate the expressivity of 12 distinct systems, displayed on stage, as well as themselves. The results show trends ranking objects lowest, then robots, then humans, then self, highest. Moreover, objects involved in the show were generally rated higher after the performance. Qualitative responses give further insight into how viewers experienced watching human performers alongside elements of technology. This work lays a framework for measuring human perceptions of robotic systems – and factors that influence this perception – inside live performance and suggests black-that through the lens of expressivity systems of similar type are rated similarly by audience members.


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Received: 2018-12-13
Accepted: 2019-09-20
Published Online: 2019-12-13

© 2019 Catie Cuan et al., published by De Gruyter

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

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