Empathic Concern and the Effect of Stories in Human-Robot Interaction

Proceedings of the IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Communication (ROMAN), 2015

6 Pages Posted: 5 Aug 2015  

Kate Darling

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Media Laboratory; Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society

Palash Nandy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Cynthia Breazeal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

Date Written: February 1, 2015

Abstract

People have been shown to project lifelike attributes onto robots and to display behavior indicative of empathy in human-robot interaction. Our work explores the role of empathy by examining how humans respond to a simple robotic object when asked to strike it. We measure the effects of lifelike movement and stories on people's hesitation to strike the robot, and we evaluate the relationship between hesitation and people's trait empathy. Our results show that people with a certain type of high trait empathy (empathic concern) hesitate to strike the robots. We also find that high empathic concern and hesitation are more strongly related for robots with stories. This suggests that high trait empathy increases people's hesitation to strike a robot, and that stories may positively influence their empathic responses.

Keywords: robotics, psychology, human-robot interaction, ethics, violence, storytelling

Suggested Citation

Darling, Kate and Nandy, Palash and Breazeal, Cynthia, Empathic Concern and the Effect of Stories in Human-Robot Interaction (February 1, 2015). Proceedings of the IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Communication (ROMAN), 2015. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2639689

Kate Darling (Contact Author)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - MIT Media Laboratory ( email )

20 Ames St.
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Harvard University - Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society ( email )

Harvard Law School
23 Everett, 2nd Floor
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Palash Nandy

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

Cynthia Breazeal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) ( email )

77 Massachusetts Avenue
50 Memorial Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307
United States

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