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Mechanisms and Consequences of Attributing Socialness to Artificial Agents

Objective

Understanding how we perceive and interact with others is a core challenge of social cognition research. This challenge is poised to intensify in importance as the ubiquity of artificial intelligence and the presence of humanoid robots in society grows. By innovatively combining psychology, neuroscience and robotics, the SOCIAL ROBOTS project helps prepare us for this future by (1) establishing a new approach for understanding how the human brain processes and responds to interactive robots; (2) delineating the factors influencing how representations of robots and humans are shared at brain and behavioural levels; and (3) exploring how these findings inform the now-rapid development of social robots. To achieve this, we first investigate how young adults perceive and interact with humans vs. robots, the role of physical features and training experience, and the extent to which brain regions mediating social interaction with humans also support robot interaction. Next, to test the role of experience-dependent plasticity on social cognition, we assess how brain and behavioural flexibility toward robots manifests among young children and older adults. Finally, we explore cultural influences on shared representations of humans and robots by extending the first project phase to Japan, the world’s most robotics-rich nation. The SOCIAL ROBOTS project tests a dominant hypothesis of social cognition and is expected to lead to a novel conception of the neurocognitive architecture supporting human-robot interaction. Neuroimaging and behavioural measures will offer detailed and nuanced insights into how brain mechanisms supporting social engagement with people are used when interacting with robots, and how different kinds of experience (e.g. training, lifespan, cultural) influence such engagement. The planned studies and those generated during the project will enable the SOCIAL ROBOTS team to become a world-leading group bridging social cognition, neuroscience and robotics.

Host institution

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
Net EU contribution
€ 1 623 268,00
Address
University Avenue
G12 8QQ Glasgow
United Kingdom

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Region
West Central Scotland Glasgow City
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00

Beneficiaries (2)

UNIVERSITY OF GLASGOW
United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 1 623 268,00
Address
University Avenue
G12 8QQ Glasgow

See on map

Region
West Central Scotland Glasgow City
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00
BANGOR UNIVERSITY

Participation ended

United Kingdom
Net EU contribution
€ 185 732,00
Address
College Road
LL57 2DG Bangor
Region
Wales West Wales and The Valleys Gwynedd
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Other funding
€ 0,00