Cognitive impact of Social Robots: How anthropomorphism boosts performance

Abstract : There is evidence that selective attention mechanisms in humans can be impacted in performance contexts involving the presence of robotic agents compared to contexts in which they are alone. However, the question of whether this process is due to anthropomorphism attribution, potentially explaining why robots trigger the same effect as humans, remains unclear. We investigated this issue using a selective attention task in a social presence paradigm. One group of participants performed the so-called Eriksen Flanker task in the presence of a robot after a verbal social interaction (i.e., social robot condition), while the other group did the same with a robot that they only described (i.e., non-social robot condition). Results showed that after social interaction, the robot was perceived as having human traits (according to the humanization and anthropomorphism scale). Furthermore, we found a social presence effect (i.e., an improvement in selective attention performance) only in the presence of the social robot but not in that of the non-social one. Finally, this latter effect was mediated by anthropomorphism attributions. Our results suggest that the influence of robot presence is socio-cognitive in nature and that anthropomorphism has a role in the robot presence effect. Theoretical implications are further discussed.
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Nicolas Spatola, Sophie Monceau, Ludovic Ferrand. Cognitive impact of Social Robots: How anthropomorphism boosts performance. IEEE Robotics and Automation Magazine, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, 2019, ⟨10.1109/MRA.2019.2928823⟩. ⟨hal-02347083v2⟩

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