Towards the synthetic self: making others perceive me as an other

Abstract

Future applications of robotic technologies will involve interactions with non-expert humans as machines will assume the role of companions, teachers or healthcare assistants. In all those tasks social behavior is a key ability that needs to be systematically investigated and modelled at the lowest level, as even a minor inconsistency of the robot’s behavior can greatly affect the way humans will perceive it and react to it. Here we propose an integrated architecture for generating a socially competent robot.We validate our architecture using a humanoid robot, demonstrating that gaze, eye contact and utilitarian emotions play an essential role in the psychological validity or social salience of Human-Robot Interaction (HRI). We show that this social salience affects both the empathic bonding between the human and a humanoid robot and, to a certain extent, the attribution of a Theory of Mind (ToM). More specifically, we investigate whether these social cues affect other utilitarian aspects of the interaction such as knowledge transfer within a teaching context.

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Paladyn. Journal of Behavioral Robotics is a new, peer-reviewed, electronic-only journal that publishes original, high-quality research on topics broadly related to neuronally and psychologically inspired robots and other behaving autonomous systems.

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