Skip to main content

What Makes Robots Social?: A User’s Perspective on Characteristics for Social Human-Robot Interaction

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNAI,volume 9388)


A common description of a social robot is for it to be capable of communicating in a humanlike manner. However, a description of what communicating in a ‘humanlike manner’ means often remains unspecified. This paper provides a set of social behaviors and certain specific features social robots should possess based on user’s experience in a longitudinal home study, discusses whether robots can actually be social, and presents some recommendations to build better social robots.


  • Design guidelines
  • Sociability
  • Social intelligence
  • Social robots

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Breazeal, C.L.: Designing sociable robots. MIT Press, Cambridge (2005)

    MATH  Google Scholar 

  2. Castellano, G., Pereira, A., Leite, I., Paiva, A., McOwan, P.W.: Detecting user engagement with a robot companion using task and social interaction-based features. In: Int. Conf. on Multimodal Interfaces, Cambridge, MA, USA (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  3. van Dijk, J.A.G.M.: The network society. Sage Publications, London (2012)

    Google Scholar 

  4. Fong, T., Nourbakhsh, I., Dautenhahn, K.: A survey of socially interactive robots. Robotics and Autonomous Systems 42, 143–166 (2003)

    CrossRef  MATH  Google Scholar 

  5. Goffman, E.: The presentation of self in everyday life. Penguin Group, London (1959)

    Google Scholar 

  6. de Graaf, M.M.A., Ben Allouch, S. Expectation setting and personality attribution in HRI. In: Int. Conf. on Human-Robot Interaction, Bielefeld, Germany (2014)

    Google Scholar 

  7. de Graaf, M.M.A.: Living with robots: Investigating the user acceptance of social robots in domestic environments (thesis). University of Twente, Enschede, The Netherlands (2015)

    Google Scholar 

  8. Hansen, A., Cottle, S., Negrine, R., Newbold, C.: Mass communication research methods. Palgrave Publishers, Basingstoke (1998)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  9. Krämer, N.C., Eimler, S.N., Pütten, A.M., Payr, S.: Theory of companion: What can theoratical model contribute to applications and understanding of human-robot interaction? Applied Artificial Intelligence 25, 474–502 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  10. Kwak, S.S., Kim, Y., Kim, E., Shin, C., Cho, K.: What makes people empathize with an emotional robot?: the impact of agency and physical embodiment on human empathy for a robot. In: Int. Symp. on Robot and Human Interactive Communication, Gyeongju, Korea (2013)

    Google Scholar 

  11. Landis, J.R., Koch, G.G.: The measurement of observer agreement for categorical data. Biometrics 33, 159–174 (1977)

    CrossRef  MATH  Google Scholar 

  12. Lee, K., Park, N., Song, H.: Can a robot be perceived as a developing creature? Effects of a robot’s long-term cognitive developments on its social presence and people’s social responses toward it. Human Communication Research 31, 538–563 (2005)

    Google Scholar 

  13. Leite, I., Castellano, G., Pereira, A., Martinho, C., Paiva, A.: Empathic Robots for Long-term Interaction. Int. J. of Social Robotics 6, 329–341 (2014)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  14. Levy, D.: Love and sex with robots: The evolution of human-robot relationships. HarperCollins Publishers, New York (2008)

    Google Scholar 

  15. Mutlu, B.: Designing embodied cues for dialog with robots. AI Magazine 32, 17–30 (2011)

    CrossRef  Google Scholar 

  16. Reeves, B., Nass, C.: The media equation: How people treat computers, television, and new media like real people and places. CSLI Publications, New York (1996)

    Google Scholar 

  17. Riek, L.D., Rabinowitch, T.C., Chakrabarti, B., Robinson, P.: How anthropomorphism affects empathy toward robots. In: Int. Conf. on Human-Robot Interaction, La Jolla, CA, USA (2009)

    Google Scholar 

  18. Severinson-Eklundh, K., Green, A., Huttenrauch, H.: Social and collaborative aspects of interaction with a service robot. Robotics and Autonomous Systems 42, 223–234 (2003)

    CrossRef  MATH  Google Scholar 

  19. Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R.: Introduction to qualitative research methods: The search for meanings. Wiley, New York (1984)

    Google Scholar 

  20. Turing, A.M.: Computing machinery and intelligence. Mind 59, 433–460 (1950)

    MathSciNet  CrossRef  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to M. M. A. de Graaf .

Editor information

Editors and Affiliations

Rights and permissions

Open Access This chapter is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License, which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

Reprints and Permissions

Copyright information

© 2015 Springer International Publishing Switzerland

About this paper

Cite this paper

de Graaf, M.M.A., Ben Allouch, S., van Dijk, J.A.G.M. (2015). What Makes Robots Social?: A User’s Perspective on Characteristics for Social Human-Robot Interaction. In: Tapus, A., André, E., Martin, JC., Ferland, F., Ammi, M. (eds) Social Robotics. ICSR 2015. Lecture Notes in Computer Science(), vol 9388. Springer, Cham.

Download citation

  • DOI:

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Springer, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-319-25553-8

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-319-25554-5

  • eBook Packages: Computer ScienceComputer Science (R0)