The influence of robot anthropomorphism on the feelings of embarrassment when interacting with robots

Christoph Bartneck 1 , Timo Bleeker 1 , Jeroen Bun 1 , Pepijn Fens 1 ,  and Lynyrd Riet 1
  • 1 Eindhoven University of Technology, Department of Industrial Design Den Dolech 2, 5600MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands


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.