International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 241–252 | Cite as

Alignment to the Actions of a Robot

  • Anna-Lisa Vollmer
  • Katharina J. Rohlfing
  • Britta Wrede
  • Angelo Cangelosi


Alignment is a phenomenon observed in human conversation: Dialog partners’ behavior converges in many respects. Such alignment has been proposed to be automatic and the basis for communicating successfully. Recent research on human–computer dialog promotes a mediated communicative design account of alignment according to which the extent of alignment is influenced by interlocutors’ beliefs about each other. Our work aims at adding to these findings in two ways. (a) Our work investigates alignment of manual actions, instead of lexical choice. (b) Participants interact with the iCub humanoid robot, instead of an artificial computer dialog system. Our results confirm that alignment also takes place in the domain of actions. We were not able to replicate the results of the original study in general in this setting, but in accordance with its findings, participants with a high questionnaire score for emotional stability and participants who are familiar with robots align their actions more to a robot they believe to be basic than to one they believe to be advanced. Regarding alignment over the course of an interaction, the extent of alignment seems to remain constant, when participants believe the robot to be advanced, but it increases over time, when participants believe the robot to be a basic version.


Alignment Human–robot interaction  Action understanding Robot social learning 



This research has been supported by the EU project RobotDoC (235065) from the FP7 Marie Curie Actions ITN.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anna-Lisa Vollmer
    • 1
  • Katharina J. Rohlfing
    • 2
  • Britta Wrede
    • 2
  • Angelo Cangelosi
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Robotics and Neural SystemsPlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  2. 2.CITEC Center of Excellence Cognitive Interaction TechnologyBielefeld UniversityBielefeldGermany

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