Robotics: Science and Systems XVI

The Dark Side of Embodiment - Teaming Up With Robots VS Disembodied Agents

Filipa Correia, Samuel Gomes, Samuel Mascarenhas, Francisco S. Melo, Ana Paiva


In the past years, research on the embodiment of interactive social agents has been focused on comparisons between robots and virtually-displayed agents. Our work contributes to this line of research by providing a comparison between social robots and disembodied agents exploring the role of embodiment within group interactions. We conducted a user study where participants formed a team with two agents to play a Collective Risk Dilemma (CRD). Besides having two levels of embodiment as between-subjects ---physically-embodied and disembodied---, we also manipulated the agents' degree of cooperation as a within-subjects variable ---one of the agents used a prosocial strategy and the other used selfish strategy. Our results show that while trust levels were similar between the two conditions of embodiment, participants identified more with the team of embodied agents. Surprisingly, when the agents were disembodied, the prosocial agent was rated more positively and the selfish agent was rated more negatively, compared to when they were embodied. The obtained results support that embodied interactions might improve how humans relate with agents in team settings. However, if the social aspects can positively mask selfish behaviours, as our results suggest, a dark side of embodiment may emerge.



    AUTHOR    = {Filipa Correia AND Samuel Gomes AND Samuel Mascarenhas AND Francisco S. Melo AND Ana Paiva}, 
    TITLE     = {{The Dark Side of Embodiment - Teaming Up With Robots VS Disembodied Agents}}, 
    BOOKTITLE = {Proceedings of Robotics: Science and Systems}, 
    YEAR      = {2020}, 
    ADDRESS   = {Corvalis, Oregon, USA}, 
    MONTH     = {July}, 
    DOI       = {10.15607/RSS.2020.XVI.010}