[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Physical human-robot interaction has the potential to be useful in a number of domains, but this will depend on how people respond to the robot’s actions. For some domains, such as healthcare, a robot is likely to initiate physical contact with a person’s body. In order to investigate how people respond to this type of interaction, we conducted an experiment with 56 people in which a robotic nurse autonomously touched and wiped each participant’s forearm. On average, participants had a favorable response to the first time the robot touched them. However, we found that the perceived intent of the robot significantly influenced people’s responses. If people believed that the robot intended to clean their arms, the participants tended to respond more favorably than if they believed the robot intended to comfort them, even though the robot’s manipulation behavior was the same. Our results suggest that roboticists should consider this social factor in addition to the mechanics of physical interaction. Surprisingly, we found that participants in our study responded less favorably when given a verbal warning prior to the robot’s actions. In addition to these main results, we present post-hoc analyses of participants’ galvanic skin responses (GSR), open-ended responses, attitudes towards robots, and responses to a second trial.
International Journal of Social Robotics
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