The Effects of Eye Contact when Bonding with a Robot

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Eye contact has been shown to be of significant influence on how we bond with pets. However, it was not known whether only eye contact would significantly contribute to the bonding experience with robots. This research aims to show that eye contact has a significant effect on how we bond with our robot pet. This was done by letting 23 participants interact with a robot which exerted three different kinds of eye contact for two minutes each. After participants had experienced all three kinds of eye contact, a questionnaire was presented asking them about their experience with the robot. The only difference between the three robots was whether the robot was actively trying to make eye contact, actively trying to prevent eye contact or not attempting to make eye contact. The only social feature that the robot had was the ability to make or not make eye contact. In addition, the robot was built to specifically not resemble any living being as to not bias the participant. The results show a significant effect on bonding with a robot for the robot that makes eye contact. However, the extent of this effect cannot be quantified because the scale used in the questionnaire is unclear and would require further research.
Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen