Investigating People’s Rapport Building and Hindering Behaviors When Working with a Collaborative Robot

Abstract

Modern industrial robots are increasingly moving toward collaborating with people on complex tasks as team members, and away from working in isolated cages that are separated from people. Collaborative robots are programmed to use social communication techniques with people, enabling human team members to use their existing inter-personal skills to work with robots, such as speech, gestures, or gaze. Research is increasingly investigating how robots can use higher-level social structures such as team dynamics or conflict resolution. One particularly important aspect of human–human teamwork is rapport building: these are everyday social interactions between people that help to develop professional relationships by establishing trust, confidence, and collegiality, but which are formally peripheral to a task at hand. In this paper, we report on our investigations of how and if people apply similar rapport-building behaviors to robot collaborators. First, we synthesized existing human–human rapport knowledge into an initial human–robot interaction framework; this framework includes verbal and non-verbal behaviors, both for rapport building and rapport hindering, that people can be expected to exhibit. We developed a novel mock industrial task scenario that emphasizes ecological validity, and creates a range of social interactions necessary for investigating rapport. Finally, we report on a qualitative study that investigates how people use rapport hindering or building behaviors in our industrial scenario, which reflects how people may interact with robots in industrial settings.

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Correspondence to Stela H. Seo.

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Appendix: Abbreviated Rapport Coding Guide

Appendix: Abbreviated Rapport Coding Guide

Verbal rapport-building a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships—rapport-building language is a type of interactive language whose primary purpose is to increase the social glue between people communicating [1]
Baseline for judging verbal rapport building similar standards as rapport-building in human–human interaction—when interacting with the robot, participants verbally engage in a manner that aims to increase cohesion and build a relationship [1]
Positive (rapport building) standard: participants engage in rapport building talk during the interaction with the robot. Negative (rapport hindering) standard: participants do not engage in rapport-building talk during the interaction with the robot
Examples for short instances: Code VR# Examples for short instances: Code NVR#
VR1: complimenting the robot [1] NVR1: ignore the robot’s politeness: robot thanks participant (i.e. after cleaning, during praise) and participant gives no response
VR2:thanking the robot [1] e.g., in response to praise, at the end of the task NVR2: ignore the robot’s criticism: robot tells participant they are going very slow, participant does not respond or responds insincerely
VR3: asking the robot questions [2] during the task, or during the break, actively asking the robot questions not directly related to the task—e.g. questions about the robot’s “personal” information NVR3: limited responses to questions: during the break, participant’s responses to questions are noticeably brief (e.g., only responding yes/no), responses that do not disclose additional personal information
VR4: responding to questions responding to the robot’s questions in full sentences, actively disclosing personal information [2] NVR4: sarcasm: participant responds to the robot using a sarcastic or insincere tone
VR5: promoting the in-group: speech that references both the participant and the robot—use of the pronoun “we”, “let’s”, [10] use of the robot’s name [2]  
VR6: mitigating response to criticism [1] genuinely apologizing in response to robot’s criticism  
VR7: empathetic speech responding to robot’s complaints, concerns with agreement [1, 10] and empathy—i.e. during paycheck complaint  
VR8: disclosures participant discloses personal information unprompted by the robot—i.e. not in response to a question  
Non-verbal rapport-building a way of establishing connections and negotiating relationships—non-verbal rapport-building behaviors are whose primary purpose is to increase the social glue between people communicating
Baseline for judging verbal rapport building similar standards as rapport-building behavior in human–human interaction—when interacting with the robot, participants display behaviors that serve to increase rapport
Positive (rapport building) standard: participants engage in rapport building behaviors during the interaction with the robot Negative (rapport hindering) standard: participants display behaviors that reflect discomfort, distance, and/or disinterest in establishing rapport with the robot
Examples for short instances: Code BR# Examples for short instances: Code NBR#
BR1: open posture during the break participant displays open posture (e.g., leaning towards the robot, uncrossed arms, direct body orientation) [48] NBR1: closed posture: displays closed posture (e.g., crossed arms, leaning away from the robot, facing away from the robot)
BR2: facial expression smiling at the robot (e.g., when the robot is speaking), making eye contact while robot is speaking [48] NBR2: distracted behavior: e.g., looking around the room, checking phone
BR3: active behavioral engagement e.g., laughing, nodding, waving [48] NBR3: facial expression: e.g., looking down or away from the robot when it is speaking, neutral facial expression when talking with the robot
BR4: physical proximity participant sits close to the robot during break—i.e. right up against the table NBR4: physical distance: participant sits far away from robot
  NBR5: testing: participant tries to trick or test the robot—ex. showing the same cloth twice
  1. BR1/NBR1: code open posture once during the break. If the participant changes posture code again
  2. BR2: Code eye contact only when Nao is also focused on the participant
  3. If participant doesn’t respond verbally to thanks, compliment etc. but responds non-verbally (i.e. smiling), code the nonverbal behavior

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Seo, S.H., Griffin, K., Young, J.E. et al. Investigating People’s Rapport Building and Hindering Behaviors When Working with a Collaborative Robot. Int J of Soc Robotics 10, 147–161 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-017-0441-8

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Keywords

  • Human–robot interaction
  • Social robotics
  • Industrial team-work robots
  • Rapport