The Importance of Mutual Gaze in Human-Robot Interaction
Mutual gaze is a key element of human development, and constitutes an important factor in human interactions. In this study, we examined –through analysis of subjective reports– the influence of an online eye-contact of a humanoid robot on humans’ reception of the robot. To this end, we manipulated the robot gaze, i.e., mutual (social) gaze and neutral (non-social) gaze, throughout an experiment involving letter identification. Our results suggest that people are sensitive to the mutual gaze of an artificial agent, they feel more engaged with the robot when a mutual gaze is established, and eye-contact supports attributing human-like characteristics to the robot. These findings are relevant both to the human-robot interaction (HRI) research - enhancing social behavior of robots, and also for cognitive neuroscience - studying mechanisms of social cognition in relatively realistic social interactive scenarios.
KeywordsSocial human-robot interaction iCub Mutual gaze
This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant awarded to A. Wykowska, titled “InStance: Intentional Stance for Social Attunement. Grant agreement No: 715058).
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