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Periodic Report Summary 1 - HUMROBCOOPERATION (Understanding human cooperation with humanoid robots: analysis from a social psychological perspective.)

The adoption of a technology within a society has associated benefits but also potential risks that need to be considered, such is the case of humanoid robots. The introduction of these entities to society might benefit many sectors of the population. To cite some examples, robots could tackle problems associated with the ageing population (such as difficulties to get oriented, carry heavy objects, or loneliness) or help people with mobility impairments. However, the introduction of robots might also have negative effects or risks for the society. Projects such as “Humrobcooperation” help anticipate these effects and contribute to the development and use of positive and prosocial media and technologies.

The goal of “Humrobcooperation” is to better understand people’s social interaction and cooperation with humanoid robots in situations of mediated embodiment. Humans’ cooperation with robots in conjoint actions is fundamental for the implementation of these machines into society since cooperation can determine the humanoid success in situations of rescue activities, hazardous operations, or assistance of elderly and people with disabilities, among others. A robot embodiment setup has been developed ad hoc for the project in order to conduct the experiments. The embodiment set-up (Fig. 1) is used as a methodological tool to examine human behavior during human-robot interaction and cooperation. In this setup, it is possible for a participant to embody and control a robot that is physically present in a remote location. For that, a Head Mounted Display (HMD) is used to provide visual feedback from the robot’s eyes, headphones are given for auditory feedback, and control of the body movement is achieved through different methods (i.e. brain-computer interface, joystick, or body movement synchronization with Kinect).

The project introduces three important novelties in the area of human-robot cooperation. First, it addresses people’s understanding of robots from an innovative perspective by applying the principles of social perception theories to predict human cooperation with a robot. Second, it deals with the cutting-edge research field of embodiment of people in robotic bodies physically present in a remote location. Third, the study provides important insights for developing socially competent humanoid robots. In addition, the project contributes at the theoretical level by improving the models and theories that explain human-robot interaction. At the practical level, it is important to remark that haptic human-robot joint actions or physical human-robot interaction skills are among the most challenging behaviours to program on a robot. Therefore, an important contribution at this level is to provide designers and engineers with a new perspective that enable them to create robots with a better capacity to predict human behaviour in situations of cooperation and with higher social acceptance.

The project uses principles from the Media Psychology and Communication disciplines to address human-robot interaction. The results obtained (see Publication list) significantly contribute to understand the consequences of robotic embodiment on people’s attitudes and behaviour. Thanks to “Humrobcooperation” project we now know much more than before about how humans behave and react towards the possibility to not only cooperate as two entities but in a symbiotic manner, becoming a sole entity through a process of humanoid embodiment. Above all, the results of the project have provided vital information to understand how humanoid robot systems of embodiment could be implemented in the near future to society in a positive manner.

Publication list:

Aymerich-Franch, L., Petit, D., Ganesh, G., & Kheddar, A. (2016). In a robot’s body: Illusory bi-location of the self during artificial body reduplication. Communication to be presented at the International Communication Association Conference (ICA), June 9-13, Fukuoka, Japan.
Aymerich-Franch, L. (in press). Walking among humanoids: acceptance of social robots in human environments (Orig. Caminando entre humanoides: la aceptación de los robots sociales en entornos humanos). Telos.
Aymerich-Franch, L. (accepted). Mediated embodiment in new communication technologies. In: Khosrow-Pour, M. [ed.]. Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, 4th Edition. Hershey, PA: IGI Global.
Aymerich-Franch, L. (accepted). Human representation in mediated embodiment (Orig. La representación del individuo en la corporalidad mediada). In: La investigación de la comunicación en la era digital. Medellín: Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana.
Aymerich-Franch, L. & Ganesh, G. (2015). The role of functionality in the body model for self-attribution. Neuroscience Research. Special Issue on Body representation in the brain.
Aymerich-Franch, L., Petit, D., Ganesh, G., & Kheddar, A. (2015). Embodiment of a humanoid robot is preserved during partial and delayed control. Proceedings of the IEEE International Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts (ARSO 2015). July, 1-3, Lyon, France.

To know more about the project and the principal investigator, please visit:

(attached file)

Figure1. One of the embodiment setups used in the project: the participant wears an HMD which provides first person perspective from the robot´s view. Body control is obtained synchronizing the participant´s arm to the robot arm with the Kinect.

Related information

Documents and Publications


Xavier Gutierrez, (Head of the Management Unit)
Tel.: +34934035385
Fax: +34934489434


Life Sciences
Record Number: 189502 / Last updated on: 2016-10-11
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