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Humans and humanoid social robots in communication contexts


As humanoid social robots are developed rapidly in recent years and experimented in social situations, comparing them to humans provides insights into practical as well as philosophical concerns. This study uses the theoretical framework of communication constraints, derived in human–human communication research, to compare whether people apply social-oriented constraints and task-oriented constraints differently to human targets versus humanoid social robot targets. A total of 230 students from the University of Hawaii at Manoa participated in the study. The participants completed a questionnaire, which determined their concern for the five communication constraints (feelings, non-imposition, disapproval, clarity, and effectiveness) in situations involving humans or robots. The results show people were more concerned with avoiding hurting the human’s feelings, avoiding inconveniencing the human interactive partner, and avoiding being disliked by the human and less concerned with avoiding hurting the robot’s feelings, avoiding inconveniencing the robot partner, and avoiding being disliked by the robot. But people did not differ in their concerns of the two task-oriented constraints (clarity and effectiveness) in response to humans versus humanoid robots. The results of the research suggest that people are more likely to emphasize the social-oriented constraints in communication with humans.

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Correspondence to Min-Sun Kim.

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Kim, MS., Sur, J. & Gong, L. Humans and humanoid social robots in communication contexts. AI & Soc 24, 317–325 (2009).

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  • Humanoid Robot
  • Robot Interaction
  • Human Tutor
  • Interactive Constraint
  • Personal Robot