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Agnieszka Wykowska (Italian Institute for Technology, Genova)

23 May 2019 @ 14:00 - 15:30


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23 May 2019
14:00 - 15:30
Event Category:
Academic Events

“Social cognition in human-robot interaction”

Abstract: In daily lives, we need to be able to efficiently navigate through our social environment. Our brain has developed a plethora of mechanisms that allow smooth social interactions with others, and that enable understanding of others’ behaviors, and prediction of what others are going to do next. At the dawn of a new era, in which robots might soon be among us at homes and offices, one needs to ask whether (or when) our brain uses similar mechanisms towards robots. In our research, we examine what factors in human-robot interaction lead to activation of mechanisms of social cognition. We use methods of cognitive neuroscience and experimental psychology in naturalistic protocols in which humans interact with the humanoid robot iCub.  Here, I will present results of several experiments in which we examined the impact of various parameters of robot social behavior on the mechanisms of social cognition. We examined whether mutual gaze, gaze-contingent robot behavior, or human-likeness of movements influence engagement of mechanisms of social cognition. Our results show an interesting interaction between more “social” aspects of robot behavior and fundamental processes of human cognition. The results will be discussed in the context of several general questions that need to be addressed: the societal impact of robots towards whom we attune socially or clinical applications of social robots.