A robot looks at us, something changes in our brain and behavior


When you know you are under someone, it is hard to pretend he is not there. It’s hard to ignore them and stay focused while you feel like they are staring at you. The strange thing is that it does not even seem to matter whether they are alive or not.

In a new study, Scientist design an experiment in which people played against a robot. If the robot looked at human players during the session, it would affect the participant’s behavior and game strategy. This change was seen in the measurement of the neutral activity recorded on the electroencephalogram (EEG). Agnieszka Vikowska, says a cognitive neurologist from the Italian Institute of Technology.

If the robot looks at you during the moment you have to decide on your next move, it will be a little difficult for you to make a decision. Also, your brain has to use laborious and costly processes to try to ignore the robot’s gaze.

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According to Science Alert, in the experiment, 40 participants sat in front of Ayub’s humanoid robot and competed in a chicken game on a computer screen, in which two simulated cars moved opposite each other. Just before the collision, the game was stopped and participants were asked to look at the robot, which was either staring at them or looking elsewhere. At this point, participants had to decide whether to allow their car to move forward or turn sideways.

The robot didn’t affect the selection of the human players; But it did increases their response time slightly, and participants generally reacted fasted in the game when IQ was not looking at them. Researchers explain in their article:

According to Our hypothesis, participants’ delayed responses after reciprocal gaze may indicate that reciprocal gaze required more cognitive effort; For example, Looking at task by arguing more about Ayyub’s choices or a greater degree of repression of the stimulus was irrelevant.

According to the researchers, this change in play behavior corresponding to the change in neural activity called alpha synchronized activity, which is a pattern of brain waves and is associated with attention suppression. In additional, when examined throughout the experiment, more exposure to an unobtrusive gaze seemed to help players avoid social interaction with IQ and focus less on their game.

Giving that the cube is humanoid robot designed to approximate the shape and appearance of humans, it may come as no surprise that the robot gaze can evoke our normal attentions processes. However, the researchers say the finding could have implications for the designed of more advanced and interactive robots in the future. “Wickowska says:

“Robots will be more and more in our daily lives. For this reason, it is important not only to understand the technical aspects of robot design; it is also important to understand the human aspects of the robot’s interaction with humans.”

The findings are published in the journal Sciences Robotics.


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