Two papers at HRI 2021

This year, I co-authored two papers accepted into the proceedings of the International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction 2021, held virtually in early March.

A first paper was part of the Studies in HRI track and presents a lab study in which a robot (in)correctly blames either itself or the human participant for collaborative failures. The paper was presented by my PhD student Anouk Neerincx.


Robots will increasingly collaborate with human partners necessitating research into how robots negotiate negative collaborative outcomes. This study investigates the effect of blame attribution on trust assessments in human-robot collaboration. Participants (n = 60) collaboratively played a game with a humanoid robot in one of four conditions in a 2 (blame correctness: correct vs. incorrect) by 2 (blame target: human vs. robot) between-subjects experiment. Results show that people evaluate a robot more positively when it blames itself for collaborative failures, especially, it seems, in the case of incorrect self-blame. Our findings indicate a need to further research on effective communication strategies for robots that need to negotiate collaborative failures without compromising the trust relationships with its human partner.

The full paper can be found here.

A second paper was part of the Alt.HRI track and is amongst the first studies that collected empirical data on people’s opinions about granting rights to robots. The paper was presented by co-author Koen Hindriks.


The robot rights debate has thus far proceeded without any reliable data concerning the public opinion about robots and the rights they should have. We have administered an online survey (n = 200) that investigates layman’s attitudes towards granting particular rights to robots. Furthermore, we have asked them for what reasons they are willing to grant them those rights. Finally, we have administered general perceptions of robots regarding appearance, capacities, and traits. Results show that rights can be divided in sociopolitical and computing dimensions, and reasons into cognition and compassion dimensions. People generally have a positive view on robot interaction capacities. Attitudes towards robot rights depend on age and experience as well as on the cognitive and affective capacities people believe robots will ever possess. Our results suggest that the robot rights debate stands to benefit greatly from a common understanding of the capacity potentials of future robots.

The full paper can be found here.

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