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Can the robot "see" what I see? Robot gaze drives attention depending on mental state attribution
Örebro University, School of Science and Technology. (Centre for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems)ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7339-8118
Division of Robotics, Perception and Learning, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.
Division of Robotics, Perception and Learning, KTH, Stockholm, Sweden.
Örebro University, School of Science and Technology. (Centre for Applied Autonomous Sensor Systems)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9387-2312
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2023 (English)In: Frontiers in Psychology, E-ISSN 1664-1078, Vol. 14, article id 1215771Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Mentalizing, where humans infer the mental states of others, facilitates understanding and interaction in social situations. Humans also tend to adopt mentalizing strategies when interacting with robotic agents. There is an ongoing debate about how inferred mental states affect gaze following, a key component of joint attention. Although the gaze from a robot induces gaze following, the impact of mental state attribution on robotic gaze following remains unclear. To address this question, we asked forty-nine young adults to perform a gaze cueing task during which mental state attribution was manipulated as follows. Participants sat facing a robot that turned its head to the screen at its left or right. Their task was to respond to targets that appeared either at the screen the robot gazed at or at the other screen. At the baseline, the robot was positioned so that participants would perceive it as being able to see the screens. We expected faster response times to targets at the screen the robot gazed at than targets at the non-gazed screen (i.e., gaze cueing effect). In the experimental condition, the robot's line of sight was occluded by a physical barrier such that participants would perceive it as unable to see the screens. Our results revealed gaze cueing effects in both conditions although the effect was reduced in the occluded condition compared to the baseline. These results add to the expanding fields of social cognition and human-robot interaction by suggesting that mentalizing has an impact on robotic gaze following.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Frontiers Media S.A., 2023. Vol. 14, article id 1215771
Keywords [en]
attention, cueing effect, gaze following, intentional stance, mentalizing, social robots
National Category
Robotics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-107503DOI: 10.3389/fpsyg.2023.1215771ISI: 001037081700001PubMedID: 37519379Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85166030431OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-107503DiVA, id: diva2:1786837
Funder
EU, European Research Council, 754285Wallenberg AI, Autonomous Systems and Software Program (WASP), RTI2018-095599-A-C22
Note

Funding Agency:

RobWell project - Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovacion y Universidades

Available from: 2023-08-10 Created: 2023-08-10 Last updated: 2023-09-20Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. SOCIAL ROBOTS / SOCIAL COGNITION: Robots' Gaze Effects in Older and Younger Adults
Open this publication in new window or tab >>SOCIAL ROBOTS / SOCIAL COGNITION: Robots' Gaze Effects in Older and Younger Adults
2023 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation presents advances in social human-robot interaction (HRI) and human social cognition through a series of experiments in which humans face a robot. A predominant approach to studying the human factor in HRI consists of placing the human in the role of a user to explore potential factors affecting the acceptance or usability of a robot. This work takes a broader perspective and investigates if social robots are perceived as social agents, irrespective of their final role or usefulness in a particular interaction. To do so, it adopts methodologies and theories from cognitive and experimental psychology, such as the use of behavioral paradigms involving gaze following and a framework of more than twenty years of research employing gaze to explore social cognition. The communicative role of gaze in robots is used to explore their essential effectiveness and as a tool to learn how humans perceive them. Studying how certain social robots are perceived through the lens of research in social cognition is the central contribution of this dissertation.

This thesis presents empirical research and the multidisciplinary literature on (robotic) gaze following, aging, and their relation with social cognition. Papers I and II investigate the decline in gaze following associated with aging, linked with a broader decline in social cognition, in scenarios with robots as gazing agents. In addition to the participants' self-reported perception of the robots, their reaction times were also measured to reflect their internal cognitive processes. Overall, this decline seems to persist when the gazing Overall, this decline seems to persist when the gazing agent is a robot, highlighting our depiction of robots as social agents. Paper IV explores the theories behind this decline using a robot, emphasizing how these theories extend to non-human agents. This work also investigates motion as a competing cue to gaze in social robots (Paper III), and mentalizing in robotic gaze following (Paper V).

Through experiments with participants and within the scope of HRI and social cognition studies, this thesis presents a joint framework highlighting that robots are depicted as social agents. This finding emphasizes the importance of fundamental insights from social cognition when designing robot behaviors. Additionally, it promotes and supports the use of robots as valuable tools to explore the robustness of current theories in cognitive psychology to expand the field in parallel.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro University, 2023. p. 87
Series
Örebro Studies in Technology, ISSN 1650-8580 ; 98
National Category
Computer Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-108225 (URN)9789175295213 (ISBN)
Public defence
2023-10-13, Örebro universitet, Forumhuset, Hörsal F, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2023-09-12 Created: 2023-09-12 Last updated: 2023-09-28Bibliographically approved

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Morillo-Mendez, LucasSchreiter, TimMartinez Mozos, OscarSchrooten, Martien G. S.

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