When your robot avatar misbehaves you are likely to apologize: an exploration of guilt during robot embodiment

Article


Aymerich-Franch, L., Kishore, S. and Slater, M. 2020. When your robot avatar misbehaves you are likely to apologize: an exploration of guilt during robot embodiment. International Journal of Social Robotics. 12 (1), pp. 217-226. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-019-00556-5
TypeArticle
TitleWhen your robot avatar misbehaves you are likely to apologize: an exploration of guilt during robot embodiment
AuthorsAymerich-Franch, L., Kishore, S. and Slater, M.
Abstract

Would people feel guilty if their robot avatar acted autonomously to harm someone? We examined the experience of guilt during robot avatar embodiment, a form of embodiment where the participants experience the body of a humanoid robot as if it were their own. In particular, we analyzed what happens when a robot avatar spontaneously verbally abuses someone during a conversation using the participant’s voice, without this being the intention of the participant. In a 2 × 2 between-subjects experimental design, participants embodied a humanoid robot that added either offensive or neutral words during a conversation with a confederate, and had control over the robot’s movements or not (synch. vs. asynch.). We found that guilt and shame were positively associated with offensive words and that apologizing and verbal repair were positively related to guilt. Also, body ownership was moderately associated to apologizing and verbal repair. The results suggest that people may feel guilty for the actions of their robot avatars even if they are not the real agents of these actions. The work highlights the importance of examining the moral and legal aspects related to robot embodiment technologies.

KeywordsRobot embodiment; Body ownership; Avatar; Guilt; Responsibility; Moral emotions; Humanoid robots
Sustainable Development Goals9 Industry, innovation and infrastructure
Middlesex University ThemeCreativity, Culture & Enterprise
LanguageEnglish
PublisherSpringer
JournalInternational Journal of Social Robotics
ISSN1875-4791
Electronic1875-4805
Publication dates
Online09 May 2019
Print01 Jan 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted29 Apr 2019
Deposited30 Oct 2023
Output statusPublished
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1007/s12369-019-00556-5
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85065723673
Web of Science identifierWOS:000520401300016
Related Output
Is supplemented byhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12369-019-00556-5#Sec11
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