Perceived Agency of a Social Norm Violating Robot

AbstractIn this experiment, we investigated how a robot's violation of several social norms influences human engagement with and perception of that robot. Each participant in our study (n = 80) played 30 rounds of rock-paper-scissors with a robot. In the three experimental conditions, the robot violated a social norm by cheating, cursing, or insulting the participant during game-play. In the control condition, the robot conducted a non-norm violating behavior by stretching its hand. During the game, we found that participants had strong emotional reactions to all three social norm violations. However, participants spoke more words to the robot only after it cheated. After the game, participants were more likely to describe the robot as an agent only if they were in the cheating condition. These results imply that while social norm violations do elicit strong immediate reactions, only cheating elicits a significantly stronger prolonged perception of agency.

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