STUDY: How Do Humans Respond To A Robot's Touch? SPOILER: I'd Scream

March 11, 2011


Seen here with an XBox Kinect for a head and about to grope a patient, 'Cody' the robot was used in a study conducted by Georgia Tech to learn about how people respond to a robot's touch. NOT WELL. Boom -- study's a wrap, let's go drink.

"What we found was that how people perceived the intent of the robot was really important to how they responded. So, even though the robot touched people in the same way, if people thought the robot was doing that to clean them, versus doing that to comfort them, it made a significant difference in the way they responded and whether they found that contact favorable or not,"

Although Cody touched the subjects in exactly the same way, they reacted more positively when they believed Cody intended to clean their arm versus when they believed Cody intended to comfort them.

In addition, Kemp and his research team tested whether people responded more favorably when the robot verbally indicated that it was about to touch them versus touching them without saying anything.

"The results suggest that people preferred when the robot did not actually give them the warning," said Tiffany Chen, doctoral student at Georgia Tech. "We think this might be because they were startled when the robot started speaking, but the results are generally inconclusive."

Regardless of "intent," I can guarantee I'd respond the same way no matter what: grab whatever touched me (yes, even a peener), break it off, and beat its owner to death with it. Which, fun fact: is my same MO for alien contact. TOUCH MY BUTT, YOU BIG GREEN PERVERT, I DARE YOU! *poke* Ooh la la. Okay that I could get used to.

Hit the jump for a brief video explanation.

How Do People Respond to Being Touched by a Robot? [scienceblog]
Study Investigates How People Respond to Being Touched by a Robot [sciencenewsblog]

Thanks to Boaz, who's only touched by Lifetime original movies. LOLWUT?!

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