Advertisement

International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 117–127 | Cite as

The Cognitive Bases of Anthropomorphism: From Relatedness to Empathy

  • Gabriella AirentiEmail author
Article

Abstract

Humans may react very differently with respect to mechanical devices, including robots. They can interact with them with delight or retreat in aversion or fear. According to the famous model of the uncanny valley these opposite reactions depend on the degree of familiarity that different artifacts engender in humans. The aim of my work is trying to find out the cognitive bases of familiarity, analyzing the origin of anthropomorphic projection, namely human disposition to attribute anthropomorphic features - like intentions or feelings—to artifacts. I shall discuss two concepts: relatedness and empathy, and argue that relatedness is the precondition for empathy. The fact that it is possible to attribute anthropomorphic features virtually to any object shows that resemblance is not the point. Anthropomorphism is a kind of relation that humans establish with an artifact, and in order to comprehend this phenomenon we have to focus on the relational aspect. I shall argue that what we call anthropomorphism is an extension to nonhumans of forms of interactions typical of human communication, i.e. the attribution to an artifact of the position of interlocutor in a possible dialogue. It can be shown that attributing to an artifact the position of interlocutor in a dialogue implies dealing with it as if it were endowed of the features characterizing human mind, i.e. mental states and emotions.

Keywords

Anthropomorphism Relatedness Empathy Communication Theory of mind 

References

  1. 1.
    Singer T (2006) The neuronal basis and ontogeny of empathy and mind reading: review of the literature and implication for future research. Neurosci Biobehav Rev 30:855–863CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Thompson RA (1987) Empathy and emotional understanding: the early development of empathy. In: Eisenberg N, Strayer J (eds) Empathy and its development. Cambridge University Press, New York, pp 119–145Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Rizzolatti G, Fadiga L, Fogassi L, Gallese V (1996) Premotor cortex and the recognition of motor actions. Cognit Brain Res 3:131–141CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Singer T, Seymour B, O’Doherty JP, Kaube H, Dolan RJ, Frith CD (2004) Empathy for pain involves the affective but not sensory components of pain. Science 303:1157–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jackson PL, Rainville P, Decety J (2006) To what extent do we share the pain of others? Insight from neural bases of pain empathy. Pain 125:5–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Gallese V, Keysers C, Rizzolatti G (2004) A unifying view of the basis of social cognition. Trends Cognit Sci 8:396–403CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Singer T, Seymour B, O’Doherty JP, Klaas ES, Dolan RJ, Frith CD (2006) Empathic neural responses are modulated by the perceived fairness of others. Nature 439:466–469CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Lamm K, Batson CD, Decety J (2007) The neural substrate of human empathy: effects of perspective-taking and cognitive appraisal. J Cognit Neurosci 19:42–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Decety J (2010) To what extent is the experience of empathy mediated by neural shared circuits? Emot Rev 2:204–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    De Vignemont F, Singer T (2006) The empathic brain: how, when and why? Trends Cognit Sci 10:435–441CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kahn PH Jr, Ishiguro H, Friedman B, Kanda T, Freier NG, Severson RL, Miller J (2007) What is a human? Toward psychological benchmarks in the field of human-robot interaction. Interact Stud 8(3):363–390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Scassellati B (2002) Theory of mind for a humanoid robot. Auton Robots 12:13–24CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Harnad S (1990) The symbol grounding problem. Physica D 42:335–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Searle JR (1980) Minds, brains and programs. Behav Brain Sci 3:417–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Searle JR (1990) Consciousness, explanatory inversion, and cognitive science. Behav Brain Sci 13:585–596CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Searle JR (1992) The rediscovery of the mind. MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Searle JR (1997) The mystery of consciousness. The New York Review of Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Chella A, Manzotti R (2009) Machine consciousness: a manifesto for robotics. Int J Mach Conscious 1:33–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Pfeifer R, Lungarella M, Iida F (2007) Self-organization, embodiment, and biologically inspired robotics. Science 318:1088–1093CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ziemke T (2008) On the role of emotion in biological and robotic autonomy. BioSystems 91:401–408CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Damasio AR (1999) The feeling of what happens: body, emotion and the making of consciousness. Vintage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Arbib MA, Fellous J-M (2004) Emotions: from brain to robot. Trends Cognit Sci 8(12):554–561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Mori M (1970) The uncanny valley. Energy 7(4):33–35Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Gee FC, Browne WN, Kawamura K (2005) Uncanny valley revised. In: IEEE international workshop on robots and human interactive communication, vol 2005, pp 151–157Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Tinwell A, Grimshaw M, Nabi DA, Williams A (2011) Facial expression of emotion and perception of the Uncanny Valley in virtual characters. Comput Hum Behav 27:741–749CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Saygin AP, Chaminade T, Ishiguro H, Driver J, Frith C (2012) The thing that should not be: predictive coding and the uncanny valley in perceiving human and humanoid robots actions. Soc Cognit Affect Neurosci 7:413–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Piwek L, McKay LS, Pollick FE (2014) Empirical evaluation of the uncanny valley hypothesis fails to confirm the predicted effect of motion. Cognition 130:271–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Piaget J (1945) La Formation du symbole chez l’enfant : imitation, jeu et rêve, image et représentation. Neuchâtel, Delachaux et NiestléGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Piaget J (1926) La Représentation du monde chez l’enfant. Alcan, ParisGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Piaget J (1995) Sociological studies. Routledge, London (Orginal work published in 1977)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Wellman HM, Estes D (1986) Early understanding of mental entities: a reexamination of childhood realism. Child Dev 57:910–923CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Samuels A, Taylor M (1994) Children’s ability to distinguish fantasy events from real-life events. Br J Dev Psychol 12:417–427CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Lillard AS (1994) Making sense of pretence. In: Lewis C, Mitchell P (eds) Children’s early understanding of mind: origins and development. Erlbaum, Hove, pp 211–234Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Woolley JD (1997) Thinking about fantasy: are children fundamentally different thinkers and believers from adults? Child Dev 68:991–1011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Harris PL (2000) The work of the imagination. Basil Blackwell, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Premack D, Woodruff G (1978) Does a chimpanzee have a theory of mind? Behav Brain Sci 1:515–526CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Woodward AL (1999) Infants’ ability to distinguish between purposeful and non-purposeful behaviors. Infant Behav Dev 22:145–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Behne T, Carpenter M, Tomasello M (2005) Unwilling versus unable: Infants’ understanding of intentional action. Dev Psychol 41:328–337CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Premack D (1990) The infant’s theory of self-propelled objects. Cognition 36:1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Spelke ES (1990) Principles of object perception. Cognit Sci 14:29–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Gergely G, Nadasdy Z, Csibra G, Biro S (1995) Taking the intentional stance at 12 months of age. Cognition 56:165–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Gergely G, Csibra G (2003) Teleological reasoning in infancy: the naive theory of rational action. Trends Cognit Sci 7:287–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Premack D, James Premack A (1997) Motor competence as integral to attribution of goal. Cognition 63:235–242CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Hamlin JK, Wynn K, Bloom P (2007) Social evaluation by preverbal infants. Nature 450:557–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Hamlin JK, Wynn K, Bloom P (2010) 3-month-olds show a negativity bias in their social evaluations. Dev Sci 13:923–929CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Bühler K (1999) The Mental Development of the child. Routledge, London (Orginal work published in 1930)Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Bräten S (ed) (1998) Intersubjective communication and emotion in early ontogeny. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  48. 48.
    Bateson MC (1979) The epigenesis of conversational interaction: a personal account of research development. In: Bullowa M (ed) Before speech. the beginning of human communication. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 63–67Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Trevarthen C (1979) Communication and cooperation in early infancy: a description of primary intersubjectivity. In: Bullowa M (ed) Before speech. the beginning of human communication. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 321–347Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    Nadel J, Butterworth G (eds) (1999) Imitation in infancy. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Airenti G (2010) Is a naturalistic theory of communication possible? Cognit Syst Res 11:165–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Reddy V (2008) How infants know minds. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Trevarthen C, Hubley P (1978) Secondary intersubjectivity: confidence, confiding and acts of meaning in the first year. In: Lock A (ed) Action, gesture, and symbol: the emergence of language. Academic Press, London, pp 183–229Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    Meltzoff AN, Brooks R, Shon AP, Rao RPN (2010) “Social” robots are psychological agents for infants: a test of gaze following. Neural Netw 23:966–972CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Campos JJ, Stenberg CR (1981) Perception, appraisal and emotion: the onset of social referencing. In: Lamb ME, Sherrod LR (eds) Infant social cognition. Erlbaum, Hillsdale, pp 273–314Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Feinman S (1982) Social referencing in infancy. Merrill-Palmer Quart 28:445–470Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    Weizenbaum J (1966) ELIZA—a computer program for the study of natural language communication between man and machine. Commun ACM 9:36–45CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Stephan A (2013) Empathy for artificial agents. Paper presented at the third joint IEEE international conference on development and learning and on epigenetic robotic. Special session “Constructing empathy: an interdisciplinary investigation”, OsakaGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Gray K, Wegner DM (2012) Feeling robots and human zombies: mind perception and the uncanny valley. Cognition 125:125–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. 60.
    Duffy BR (2003) Anthropomorphism and the social robot. Robotics Auton Syst 42:177–190CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  61. 61.
    Gazzola V, Rizzolatti G, Wicker B, Keysers C (2007) The anthropomorphic brain: the mirror neuron system responds to human and robotic actions. NeuroImage 35:1674–1684Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Waytz A, Cacioppo J, Epley N (2010) Who sees human? The stability and importance of individual differences in anthropomorphism. Perspect Psychol Sci 5:219–232CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. 63.
    Kaplan F (2004) Who is afraid of the humanoid? Investigating cultural differences in the acceptance of robots. Int J Humanoid Robotics 1(3):1–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. 64.
    Murray L, Trevarthen C (1985) Emotional regulation of interactions between two-month-olds and their mothers. In: Field T, Fox N (eds) Social perception in infants. Ablex, Norwood, pp 177–197Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    Murray L, Trevarthen C (1986) The infant’s role in mother-infant communication. J Child Lang 13:15–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. 66.
    Murray L (1998) Contributions of experimental and clinical perturbations of mother-infant communication to the understanding of infant intersubjectivity. In: Bråten S (ed) Intersubjective communication and emotion in early ontogeny. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 127–143Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Cognitive Science, Department of PsychologyUniversity of TurinTurinItaly

Personalised recommendations