Exploratory evaluation of politeness in human-robot interaction

Shikhar Kumar, Eliran Itzhak, Samuel Olatunji, Vardit Sarne-Fleischmann, Noam Tractinsky, Galit Nimrod, Yael Edan

Aiming to explore the impact of politeness on Human robot interaction, this study tested varying levels of politeness in a human robot collaborative table setting task. Polite behaviour was designed based on the politeness rules of Lakoff. A graphical user interface was developed for the interaction with the robot offering three levels of politeness, and an experiment was conducted with 20 older adults and 30 engineering students. Results indicated that the quality of interaction was influenced by politeness as participants significantly preferred the polite mode of the robot. However, the older adults were less able to distinguish between the three politeness levels. Future studies should thus include pre experiment training to increase the familiarity of the older adults with robotic technology. These studies should also include other permutations of the politeness rules of Lakoff.

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