Accessing robot acceptance by motor interference

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A possibly objective method for evaluation of the acceptance of humanoid robots in joint interaction with humans is based on the phenomenon of motor interference (MI) which claims that face-to-face or video observation of a different (incongruent) movement of another individual leads to a higher variance in one’s own movement trajectory. MI is supposed to be a consequence of the tendency to imitate our partner’s movements (motor resonance) during social interaction (e.g. contagious yawning). Since motor resonance correlates with the feeling of sympathy, togetherness and mutual rapport and also leads to an easier understanding of emotions and intentions of others, measuring MI can be used as an indicator of the quality of the human-robot interaction. In this review, we explain the neural basis of MI and show which features of robots trigger its emergence and thus should be taken into consideration during the development of robots for human-robot interaction scenarios.


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