Gaze Cueing and the Role of Presence in Human-Robot Interaction

by   Kassandra Friebe, et al.

Gaze cueing is a fundamental part of social interactions, and broadly studied using Posner task based gaze cueing paradigms. While studies using human stimuli consistently yield a gaze cueing effect, results from studies using robotic stimuli are inconsistent. Typically, these studies use virtual agents or pictures of robots. As previous research has pointed to the significance of physical presence in human-robot interaction, it is of fundamental importance to understand its yet unexplored role in interactions with gaze cues. This paper investigates whether the physical presence of the iCub humanoid robot affects the strength of the gaze cueing effect in human-robot interaction. We exposed 42 participants to a gaze cueing task. We asked participants to react as quickly and accurately as possible to the appearance of a target stimulus that was either congruently or incongruently cued by the gaze of a copresent iCub robot or a virtual version of the same robot. Analysis of the reaction time measurements showed that participants were consistently affected by their robot interaction partner's gaze, independently on the way the robot was presented. Additional analyses of participants' ratings of the robot's anthropomorphism, animacy and likeability further add to the impression that presence does not play a significant role in simple gaze based interactions. Together our findings open up interesting discussions about the possibility to generalize results from studies using virtual agents to real life interactions with copresent robots.


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