Table_1_The Impact of Human–Robot Synchronization on Anthropomorphization.DOCX

To elucidate the working mechanism behind anthropomorphism, this study investigated whether human participants would anthropomorphize a robot more if they move synchronously versus non-synchronously with it, and whether this is affected by which of the two initiates the movements. We tested two competing hypotheses. The feature-overlap hypothesis predicts that moving in synchrony would increase perceived self-other feature overlap, which in turn might spread activation to codes of features related to humans—which should increase anthropomorphization. In contrast, the autonomy hypothesis predicts that unpredictability increases anthropomorphization, and thus that whenever the robot initiates movements, or when the human initiates movements to which the robot moves non-synchronously, there is an increased perception of the robot as a more human-like, intentionally acting creature, which in turn should increase anthropomorphization. We performed a study with synchrony as within-subjects factor, and initiator (robot or human) as between-subjects factor. To study the impact of synchrony on self-other overlap and perception of human likeness, participants completed two tasks that served as implicit measures of state anthropomorphization, and two questionnaires that served as explicit measures of state anthropomorphization toward the robot. The two implicit measures were the joint Simon task and one-shot Dictator Game. Additionally, participants filled in a trait anthropomorphization questionnaire, to enable correction for baseline tendencies to anthropomorphize. The synchrony manipulation did not affect the joint Simon effect, although there was an effect on average reaction time (RT), where in the group in which the robot initiated the movement, RTs were slower when the human and robot moved non-synchronously. The Dictator Game offer and the state anthropomorphization questionnaires were not affected by the synchrony manipulation. There was, however, a positive correlation between current anthropomorphization of the robot and amount of money offered to it. Given that most measures were not systematically affected by our manipulation, it appears that either our design was suboptimal, or that synchronization does not affect the anthropomorphization of a robot.