“I Choose... YOU!” Membership preferences in human–robot teams


Although groups of robots are expected to interact with groups of humans in the near future, research related to teams of humans and robots is still scarce. This paper contributes to the study of human–robot teams by describing the development of two autonomous robotic partners and by investigating how humans choose robots to partner with in a multi-party game context. Our work concerns the successful development of two autonomous robots that are able to interact with a group of two humans in the execution of a task for social and entertainment purposes. The creation of these two characters was motivated by psychological research on learning goal theory, according to which we interpret and approach a given task differently depending on our learning goal. Thus, we developed two robotic characters implemented in two robots: Emys (a competitive robot, based on characteristics related to performance-orientation goals) and Glin (a relationship-driven robot, based on characteristics related to learning-orientation goals). In our study, a group of four (two humans and two autonomous robots) engaged in a card game for social and entertainment purposes. Our study yields several important conclusions regarding groups of humans and robots. (1) When a partner is chosen without previous partnering experience, people tend to prefer robots with relationship-driven characteristics as their partners compared with competitive robots. (2) After some partnering experience has been gained, the choice becomes less clear, and additional driving factors emerge as follows: (2a) participants with higher levels of competitiveness (personal characteristics) tend to prefer Emys, whereas those with lower levels prefer Glin, and (2b) the choice of which robot to partner with also depends on team performance, with the winning team being the preferred choice.

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    Video explaining the methodology design of the two studies reported in the present paper: https://youtu.be/rwvBIDsN6Cc.

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    Value of the 2nd lowest card.

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    Value of the 2nd highest card.


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This work was supported by national funds through Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT-UID/CEC/500 21/2013), through the Project AMIGOS (PTDC/EEISII/7174/2014), and through the Project LAW TRAIN (Ref. H2020-FCT-2014/653587). Filipa Correia, Sofia Petisca, and Patrícia Alves-Oliveira acknowledge their FCT Grants (Refs. SFRH/BD/118031/2016, SFRH/BD/118013/2016, and SFRH/BD/110223/2015, respectively).

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Correspondence to Filipa Correia.

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The present paper is an extended version of the work in the article “Groups of humans and robots: understanding membership preferences and team formation”, published in the Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems (2017), with the https://doi.org/10.15607/RSS.2017.XIII.024. The present version includes a detailed description of the autonomous robots’ development, not included in the aforementioned article. It also includes a significantly improved discussion of our results in terms of human–robot collaboration.

This is one of several papers published in Autonomous Robots comprising the “Special Issue on Robotics Science and Systems”.

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Correia, F., Petisca, S., Alves-Oliveira, P. et al. “I Choose... YOU!” Membership preferences in human–robot teams. Auton Robot 43, 359–373 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10514-018-9767-9

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  • Social robots
  • Human–robot teams
  • Collaboration