What makes people empathize with an emotional robot? The impact of agency and physical embodiment on human empathy for a robot

Sonya S. Kwak, Yunkyung Kim, Eunho Kim, Christine Shin, Kwangsu Cho

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

As empathy is important for the emotional interaction between a human and a robot, the design factors which induce human empathy toward robots need to be explored. Human empathy toward a robot can be affected by the presence of a robot. Thus, we focused on the levels of agency and the physical embodiment of a robot, which are influential factors pertaining to social presence, by executing two experiments. In the first experiment, in a 2 (levels of agency: mediated vs. simulated) between-participants experiment, participants interacted with either a mediated robot which delivers the emotional state of a remote user or a simulated robot which expresses its own emotion. Participants empathized more with the mediated robot than with the simulated robot, demonstrating that the proper form of an emotional robot is as a mediator during emotional interaction between people. In the second study, in a 2 (physical embodiment: physically embodied vs. physically disembodied) between-participants experiment design, participants interacted with either a physically embodied robot or a physically disembodied robot. The results showed that participants empathized more with a physically embodied robot than with a physically disembodied robot, indicating the impact of physical embodiment on human empathy. Implications for the design of human-robot interactions are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication22nd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication
Subtitle of host publication"Living Together, Enjoying Together, and Working Together with Robots!", IEEE RO-MAN 2013
Pages180-185
Number of pages6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Event22nd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication: "Living Together, Enjoying Together, and Working Together with Robots!", IEEE RO-MAN 2013 - Gyeongju, Korea, Republic of
Duration: 2013 Aug 262013 Aug 29

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication

Other

Other22nd IEEE International Symposium on Robot and Human Interactive Communication: "Living Together, Enjoying Together, and Working Together with Robots!", IEEE RO-MAN 2013
CountryKorea, Republic of
CityGyeongju
Period13/8/2613/8/29

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Software
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Human-Computer Interaction

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