Increasing trust in human–robot medical interactions: effects of transparency and adaptability

Kerstin Fischer 1 , Hanna Mareike Weigelin 2 , and Leon Bodenhagen 3
  • 1 Department of Design and Communication, University of Southern Denmark, 6400 , Sønderborg, Denmark
  • 2 University of Southern Denmark, 5230 , Odense, Denmark
  • 3 SDU Robotics, Maersk Mc-Kinney Moller Institute, University of Southern Denmark, 5230 , Odense, Denmark


In this paper, we examine trust in a human-robot medical interaction. We focus on the influence of transparency and robot adaptability on people’s trust in a human-robot blood pressure measuring scenario. Our results show that increased transparency, i.e. robot explanations of its own actions designed to make the process and robot behaviors and capabilities accessible to the user, has a consistent effect on people’s trust and perceived comfort. In contrast, robot adaptability, i.e., the opportunity to adjust the robot’s position according to users’ needs, influences users’ evaluations of the robot as trustworthy only marginally. Our qualitative analyses indicate that this is due to the fact that transparency and adaptability are complex factors; the investigation of the interactional dynamics shows that users have very specific needs, and that adaptability may have to be paired with responsivity in order to make people feel in control.

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