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Recent research has shown that anthropomorphism represents a means to facilitate HRI. Under which conditions do people anthropomorphize robots and other nonhuman agents? This research question was investigated in an experiment that manipulated participants' anticipation of a prospective human-robot interaction (HRI) with a robot whose behavior was characterized by either low or high predictability. We examined effects of these factors on perceptions of anthropomorphism and acceptance of the robot. Innovatively, the present research demonstrates that anticipation of HRI with an unpredictable agent increased anthropomorphic inferences and acceptance of the robot. Implications for future research on psychological determinants of anthropomorphism are discussed.
Date of Conference: 8-11 March 2011