In Can Robots Manifest Personality?: An Empirical Test of Personality Recognition, Social Responses, and Social Presence in Human-Robot Interaction, Lee hypothesizes and analyzes the detection of personality within Human-Robot Interaction, better known as HRI. Of the many factors that make robots more human-like in nature, it is significant to note that personality was researched the least, but is one of the most important features of robots when it comes to successful and effective HRI. Lee uses an analogy of the type of experience she hopes to achieve throughout this study, one that I found to be extremely relatable, and helped me to better understand the task that she was trying to achieve. This was the concept that “. . .those who have a strong tendency to establish parasocial relationships with TV characters apply real-life social rules to the TV characters.” Lee hopes to prove that this type of relationship can occur within HRI.
This study consisted of 48 undergraduate students in a communications class at a private university, hand-selected based off of a questionnaire that analyzed whether or not they were introverted or extroverted. Split evenly, without gender as a significant variable, they were given two different versions of AIBO, a robotic dog created by Sony. Testing whether or not there was a complementarity or similarity attraction between the dog and the participants, AIBO was manipulated to have different verbal and nonverbal cues with each group. Complementarity attraction is the concept that we are attracted to relationships with people, (and now robots) that have different characteristics than them, but that complement each other. The similarity attraction is the idea that these relationships are satisfactory between two people with similar personality traits. AIBO therefore had different versions, the extroverted and the introverted. For example, the extroverted AIBO had a louder volume, faster rhythm and more exciting musical tones than the introverted. These were specific verbal cues. Additionally, in terms of nonverbal cues, the extroverted AIBO had larger motion angles, faster motion speed, and more frequent autonomous movements than the introverted AIBO. After interactions between AIBO and the participants, the participants were asked certain questions about how they felt about AIBO. The results of this study showed that the participants were able to recognize the dogs personality successfully, as well as the fact that the complementarity attraction effect was the most satisfactory attraction in the study.
I find this study to be intriguing in that even though I haven’t experienced HRI myself in this specific situation, the complementarity attraction effect is the most compelling to me in the relationships I have with people. I wonder if that would change if I had interacted with AIBO.