Medical robots are expected to help with providing care in an aging society. The degree to which patients experience embarrassment in a medical examination might be influenced by the robots’ level of anthropomorphism. The results of our preliminary study show that young, healthy, Dutch university students were less embarrassed when interacting with a technical box than with a robot. Highly human-like robots might therefore not be the best choice for a medical robot. This result also shows that the robot was perceived as a person more so than the technical box. The next step is to compare the robot to a real nurse or doctor. If patients are less embarrassed when interacting with a robot, then, potentially, patients will be less likely to defer important medical examinations when carried out by medical robots.
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Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics is a fully peer-reviewed, open access journal that publishes original, high-quality research works and review articles on topics broadly related to neuronally and psychologically inspired robots and other behaving autonomous systems. The journal is indexed in SCOPUS.