A team of scientists at the Istituto Italiano Di Tecnologia IIT in Genoa recently demonstrated how a robot’s gaze can lead us to think that we interact socially.
The researchers subjected 40 subjects to play a video game of “chicken” – in which each player must decide whether to allow a car to drive straight towards another car or veer off to avoid a collision – against a humanoid robot opposite them.
In between rounds, players were asked to look at the robot, which could look back or away.
For each case, the scientists collected data on behavior and neural activity using electroencephalography, which detects electrical activity in the brain.
The robot’s mutual gaze influenced decisions by delaying them, so users were much slower to make decisions while playing the game.
“Once we understand when robots elicit social attunement, then we can decide in which sort of context this is desirable and beneficial for humans and in which context this should not occur,” said Professor Agnieszka Wykowska, lead author of the study.
For more information, view the original story from Reuters.