Scazlab research on robot abuse featured in WSJ

November 11, 2020

A new study published by Yale’s Social Robotics Lab and interactive Machine group entitiled Prompting Prosocial Human Interventions in Response to Robot Mistreatment was featured in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ). The abstract of the paper can be found below.

Inspired by the benefits of human prosocial behavior, we explore whether prosocial behavior can be extended to a Human-Robot In- teraction (HRI) context. More specifically, we study whether robots can induce prosocial behavior in humans through a 1x2 between- subjects user study (N = 30) in which a confederate abused a robot. Through this study, we investigated whether the emotional reactions of a group of bystander robots could motivate a human to intervene in response to robot abuse. Our results show that participants were more likely to prosocially intervene when the bystander robots expressed sadness in response to the abuse as opposed to when they ignored these events, despite participants reporting similar perception of robot mistreatment and levels of empathy for the abused robot. Our findings demonstrate possible effects of group social influence through emotional cues by robots in human-robot interaction. They reveal a need for further research regarding human prosocial behavior within HRI.