Avoiding the uncanny valley: robot appearance, personality and consistency of behavior in an attention-seeking home scenario for a robot companion

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This article presents the results of video-based Human Robot Interaction (HRI) trials which investigated people's perceptions of different robot appearances and associated attention-seeking features and behaviors displayed by robots with different appearance and behaviors. The HRI trials studied the participants' preferences for various features of robot appearance and behavior, as well as their personality attributions towards the robots compared to their own personalities. Overall, participants tended to prefer robots with more human-like appearance and attributes. However, systematic individual differences in the dynamic appearance ratings are not consistent with a universal effect. Introverts and participants with lower emotional stability tended to prefer the mechanical looking appearance to a greater degree than other participants. It is also shown that it is possible to rate individual elements of a particular robot's behavior and then assess the contribution, or otherwise, of that element to the overall perception of the robot by people. Relating participants' dynamic appearance ratings of individual robots to independent static appearance ratings provided evidence that could be taken to support a portion of the left hand side of Mori's theoretically proposed ‘uncanny valley’ diagram. Suggestions for future work are outlined.

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