Scientists: people like less humanoid robots

Scientists: People Like Less Humanoid Robots

Researchers at the University of Cambridge conducted a social experiment in which they found that people are more likely to establish trusting contact with cartoon robots than with anthropomorphic ones. Moreover, such machines contribute to the improvement of mental health.

The experiment involved 26 employees of a consulting company who worked under the guidance of robots for 4 weeks. The researchers programmed two robots, a humanoid QTrobot V2 and a more cartoony Misty II, to mimic a typical motivational coach. And although the robots had the same voices and session scripts, the appearance of the robots had an impact on how the participants interacted with them.

“Because QT is more human-like, people expected him to behave like a human, and that may be why the participants who worked with QT were a bit unenthusiastic,” explained Dr. Mikol Spilele from the Department of Computer Science and Technology at the University of Cambridge.

Since the robot toy looks more primitive, the participants had a more condescending attitude towards it, and contact was established more easily. But to the anthropomorphic at the subconscious level, the requirements were higher and, perhaps, it could cause anxiety and rejection in people. However, scientists conclude that robots can be a useful tool for improving mental well-being in the workplace.