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