Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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Robots seemingly in possession of an experiential mind, as well as humans allegedly incapable thereof, have been reported to elicit feelings of eeriness in their perceivers. The current work re-examined this claim, asking participants to rate both robots and humans in various social situations regarding their mind capacities (e.g., emotional capability, intelligence), non-mind qualities (e.g., animacy, usefulness), and overall appeal (e.g., eeriness, likeability). It was found that feelings of eeriness towards both targets formed a distinct emotional response that was separable from simple dislike. Yet, unexpectedly, eeriness towards both targets intensified, the less they were seen as possessing a typical human mind. For robots, however, this association was less consistent. Moreover, eeriness towards robots, but not towards humans, was most strongly predicted by a lack of perceived usefulness. These results indicate that mind attributions affect people’s attitudes towards each other more strongly than their attitudes towards humanoid robots.


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