Tanibe, T. (谷辺哲史), Hashimoto, T. (橋本剛明), & Karasawa, K. (唐沢かおり) (2017). We perceive a mind in a robot when we help it. ロボットを助けるとロボットに心を感じる PLoS ONE, 12(7): e0180952.
People sometimes perceive a mind in inorganic entities like robots. Psychological research has shown that mind perception correlates with moral judgments and that immoral behaviors (i.e., intentional harm) facilitate mind perception toward otherwise mindless victims. We conducted a vignette experiment (N = 129; Mage = 21.8 ± 6.0 years) concerning human-robot interactions and extended previous research’s results in two ways. First, mind perception toward the robot was facilitated when it received a benevolent behavior, although only when participants took the perspective of an actor. Second, imagining a benevolent interaction led to more positive attitudes toward the robot, and this effect was mediated by mind perception. These results help predict what people’s reactions in future human-robot interactions would be like, and have implications for how to design future social rules about the treatment of robots.