(ORDO NEWS) — Experiments have shown that if a person feels someone else’s gaze at the moment of making a decision, then this decision is given to him with difficulty – in particular, he can change his intentions. Even if a humanoid robot is looking at him. The research results were published in the scientific journal Science Robotics.
“Robots will be present in our daily life more and more, so it is important for their creators to understand not only technological aspects, but also the nuances of how humans react to robots,” says Agnieszka Wykowska, head of the study.
The study by Wykowski and her colleagues involved 40 volunteers. They were asked to play a game modeled on the popular Hawks and Doves model with the humanoid robot iCub.
The game consists in a competition between two drivers driving towards each other in car simulators. Depending on what role in the game – aggressive or peaceful – for the participant and his opponent, drivers either receive “injuries” in a collision, or no damage.
By monitoring the brain activity of the volunteers while playing with the robot, scientists have found out an interesting detail. If the robot “looked” at the person at the moment when he was determined to evade a collision or continue moving, the decision was difficult for the experiment participant. Often times, people even changed their intentions due to the gaze of the robot.
This is surprising, since usually a person reacts to a gaze, realizing that there is some kind of social interaction behind it. However, in the case of the robot, nothing like that happened.
Scientists conclude that giving robots purely human traits – not only external, but also behavioral – can play both positive and negative roles for humans.
Wykowska and her colleagues hope that the results of their work will help the creators of the robots of the future – including those that will constantly interact with humans – to design them in the best possible way.
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