Fake Empathy and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI): A Preliminary Study

Fake Empathy and Human-Robot Interaction (HRI): A Preliminary Study

Jordi Vallverdú (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain), Toyoaki Nishida (Department of Intelligence Science and Technology, Graduate School of Informatics, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan), Yoshisama Ohmoto (Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan), Stuart Moran (University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom) and Sarah Lázare (Autonomous University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/IJTHI.2018010103
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Empathy is a basic emotion trigger for human beings, especially while regulating social relationships and behaviour. The main challenge of this paper is study whether people's empathic reactions towards robots change depending on previous information given to human about the robot before the interaction. The use of false data about robot skills creates different levels of what we call ‘fake empathy'. This study performs an experiment in WOZ environment in which different subjects (n=17) interacting with the same robot while they believe that the robot is a different robot, up to three versions. Each robot scenario provides a different ‘humanoid' description, and out hypothesis is that the more human-like looks the robot, the more empathically can be the human responses. Results were obtained from questionnaires and multi- angle video recordings. Positive results reinforce the strength of our hypothesis, although we recommend a new and bigger and then more robust experiment.
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Conceptual Framework

Our paper is mainly devoted to the possibility of managing human empathy towards robots, and, basically, it tries to answer to a very important question in Human-Robot Interaction Studies: how do humans develop expectations of robots? In order to find an answer, we will explore two different ideas into next subsections.

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