Gender Representation and Humanoid Robots Designed for Domestic Use

  • Julie CarpenterEmail author
  • Joan M. Davis
  • Norah Erwin-Stewart
  • Tiffany R. Lee
  • John D. Bransford
  • Nancy Vye
Original Paper


Humanoid robots’ appearance and behavior provide social cues about their purpose and abilities. However, little is known about how a robot’s gender representation will affect users in everyday home use scenarios. This paper presents the results of a study exploring people’s expectations of humanoid robots, or androids, designed for home use. Results of this study demonstrated participants’ willingness to attribute human roles and tasks to an android, although they did not indicate an overall preference for the robot as a social actor. In addition, following the viewing of video stimulus featuring human-robot interactions, robot gender issues surfaced during open-ended interviews.


Android Design Expectations Gender Human Humanoid Human-robot interaction Interaction Robot Social Stereotypes 


  1. 1.
    Boyatzis R (1998) Transforming qualitative information: Thematic analysis and code development. Sage, Thousand Oaks Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Braun V, Clarke V (2006) Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qual Res Psychol 3:77–101 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Carpenter J, Eliot M, Schultheis D (2006) Machine or friend: Understanding users’ preferences for and expectations of a humanoid robot companion. In: Proceedings of 2006 design emotion conference, Gothenburg, Sweden, 27–29 September 2006 Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dautenhahn K, Woods S, Kaouri C, Walters M, Koay KL, Werry I (2005) What is a robot companion, friend, assistant or butler? In: Proceedings of IEEE IROS, Edmonton, Canada, pp 1488–1493 Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Goffman E (1959) The presentation of self in everyday life. Doubleday, New York Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Haraway DJ (1991) Simians, cyborgs, and women: The reinvention of nature. Routledge, New York Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Levy D (2007) Intimate relationships with artificial partners. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation, Universiteit Maastricht, Maastricht, The Netherlands Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Powers A, Kramer ADI, Lim S, Kuo J, Lee S, Kiesler S (2005) Eliciting information from people with a gendered humanoid robot. In: Proceedings of 2005 IEEE international workshop on robot and human interactive communication (RO-MAN 2005) Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Reeves B, Nass C (1996) The media equation: How people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Ryan GW, Bernard HR (2003) Techniques to identify themes. Field Methods 15(1):85–109 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Van Zoonen L (2002) Gendering the Internet: claims, controversies, and culture. Eur J Commun 17:5–23 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julie Carpenter
    • 1
    Email author
  • Joan M. Davis
    • 1
  • Norah Erwin-Stewart
    • 1
  • Tiffany R. Lee
    • 1
  • John D. Bransford
    • 1
  • Nancy Vye
    • 1
  1. 1.College of Education/Educational PsychologyUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA

Personalised recommendations