International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 187–193

Interaction with a Moving Object Affects One’s Perception of Its Animacy



Sometimes we regard just an artifact as a lifelike one and other times not; it is considered to depend on how we deal and interact with the artifact. We experimentally examined whether differences in the manner of interacting with a moving robot (operating it or only observing its movements) influenced one’s perception of the robot’s animacy and, if so, whether the strength of this influence depended on the apparent goal-directedness of the robot’s movements. We found that people only observing the robot perceived it most animated when its movements seemed most goal-directed but that people controlling the robot perceived it more animated when 1/f noise made its movements seem less goal-directed. Our perception of a moving object’s animacy thus depends on whether we interact with the object or just observe it while someone else interacts with it. This result suggests that robotics researchers should design how a robot interacts with its users, in order to elicit higher degree of animacy perception for the robot.


Animacy perception Moving robot Human-robot interaction 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science & Business Media BV 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of General System StudiesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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