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Understanding human cooperation with humanoid robots: analysis from a social psychological perspective

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

“Humrobcooperation” explores people’s behavior and sense of embodiment in experiences of robot embodiment. A robot embodiment setup (Fig. 1) was initially developed ad hoc for the project. The embodiment set-up is used as a methodological tool to examine human behavior. In this setup, it is possible for a participant to embody 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 and microphone are provided for verbal interaction, and control of the robot’s body movement is achieved using different methods (i.e. body tracking suit, brain-computer interface, joystick, Kinect...).

The initial works of the project examined sense of embodiment in a humanoid robot (Aymerich-Franch et al., 2015, 2017a). These works showed that humans are able to experience sense of embodiment in a non-human looking humanoid robot. We demonstrated that the embodiment illusion towards a non-human looking robotic limb can be induced both using visuo-movement and visuo-tactile synchronization (Aymerich-Franch et al., 2017a). Other works also demonstrated that this illusion is not only experienced for limbs but it can also be experienced as a full-body ownership illusion (Aymerich-Franch et al., 2015).

Further work demonstrated that people are even able to experience an illusion of touch when they touch objects using the humanoid robot arm during embodiment and visuo-movement synchronization is provided (Aymerich-Franch et al., 2017b). This finding has been reported in one of the top Communication Journals, the Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.

In addition to the works on embodiment, the project also obtained very interesting results using the humanoid embodiment setup as a tool to explore self-location. In Aymerich-Franch et al. (2016a, 2016b), we found that when individuals are exposed to the humanoid body reduplication, they experience an illusion that strongly resembles heautoscopy, suggesting that a healthy human mind is able to bi-locate in two different bodies simultaneously. Finally, the most recent work (work-in-progress) of the project explored human sense of responsibility in robot avatars.

Thanks to “Humrobcooperation” we now know much more than before about how humans behave in a situation that brings human-robot cooperation one step further: humanoid robot embodiment, in which people are able to identify a humanoid robot body as their own. Embodiment systems could revolutionize the way robotic systems designed for rescue activities, hazardous operations, or assistance of elderly and people with disabilities, among others, are conceived.


Aymerich-Franch, L., Petit, D., Ganesh, G., & Kheddar, A. (2017a). Non-human Looking Robot Arms Induce Illusion of Embodiment. International Journal of Social Robotics, 1-12.

Aymerich-Franch, L., Petit, D., Ganesh, G., & Kheddar, A. (2017b). Object touch by a humanoid robot avatar induces haptic sensation in the real hand. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication

Aymerich-Franch, L., Petit, D., Ganesh, G., & Kheddar, A. (2016a). The second me: Seeing the real body during humanoid robot embodiment produces an illusion of bi-location. Consciousness and Cognition, 46, 99-109.

Aymerich-Franch, L., Petit, D., Ganesh, G., & Kheddar, A. (2016b). In a robot’s body: Illusory bi-location of the self during artificial body reduplication. International Communication Association Conference (ICA), June 9-13, Fukuoka, Japan.

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.

Additional publications resulting from the project (selected):

Aymerich-Franch, L. (2017). 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., Petit, D., Kheddar, A. & Ganesh, G. (2016c). Forward modeling the rubber hand: illusion of ownership modifies motor-sensory predictions by the brain. Royal Society Open Science, 3(8).

Aymerich-Franch, L. (2016). Walking among humanoids: acceptance of social robots in human environments (Orig. Caminando entre humanoides: la aceptación de los robots sociales en entornos humanos). Telos, 104. [Spanish].

Aymerich-Franch, L. & Ganesh, G. (2016). The role of functionality in the body model for self-attribution. Neuroscience Research, 104 (Special Issue on Body representation in the brain).

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

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Figure1. One of the embodiment setups used in the project. The participant wears a head-mounted display (HMD) which provides first person perspective from the robot´s view and body movement control is obtained with a motion tracking suit (A). A camera in the robot’s forehead gives visual feedback to the participant from the robot perspective and a mirror is used to create the illusion that the robot body is the own body (B). The participant sees the robot body when s/he looks down (C).