Here are our selected experiments at a glance.

Do We Adopt the Intentional Stance Toward Humanoid Robots?

Instance Questionnaire

We propose a new tool to explore if people adopt the intentional stance toward an artificial agent (humanoid robot). The questionnaire that probes participants’ stance by requiring them to choose the likelihood of an explanation (mentalistic vs. mechanistic) of  the observed behavior of a robot iCub depicted in a naturalistic scenario (a sequence of photographs). More details here

Sense of agency in HRI

The presence of others changes our sense of agency (the perceived relationship between our actions and the external events). Does the same happen during the interaction with artificial and/or mechanical agents? 
We also investigated the effect of the presence of a robotic agent on the sense of agency in humans during a typical intentional binding task.


Attentional capture in natural environments

How, and to what extent, generic human-like behavioural characteristics can trigger adopting the intentional stance to the robot? The first step is to quantitatively analyse the parameters of human reactions to distracting stimuli in a naturalistic environment. As a second step, those behavioural characteristics will be copied on a robot, and participants will observe either a human-like robot reactive to the environment, or a mechanistic behaviour.

Collecting data from real participants

Implementation using iCub simulator

Early attempts of implementation on the actual robot

From the human to the robot

variable behavior mechanistic vs human-like behavior

Would humans adapt their performance to iCub and take into account the type of error it makes?

In this study, we examined if humans adapt their performance to the robot's actions. Firstly, participants were asked to create and teach a sequence of musical tones to the iCub robot. The robot repeated the sequence with a decreasing delay between its own taps and taps performed by the participants. Then, we asked participants to play a duet with iCub. In the duet phase, the robot made an error in 60% of the trials, in order to violate participantsí expectations. Across participants, we manipulated the type of mistakes. For half of the participants, iCub pressed a wrong key (Human-like error), whereas, for the other half, iCub interrupted the melody and moved back and forth between two keys in a "loop" (Mechanical error).

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Dynamic structure of cooperative and competitive joint actions

What is the dynamical structure of joint action behavior in the traditional social Simon task during HRI?


Gaze leading and gaze following in HRI

How does successful vs. unsuccessful initiation of joint attention with robots affects engagement with them, subsequent interaction, and attribution of human-like traits?

Screen based experiment

Interaction with iCub

Mutual gaze in joint attention

Does mutual gaze influence fundamental mechanism of attention?

Action expectations and gaze following in HRI

Is gaze following during HRI influenced by violation of expectations regarding goal- oriented action sequences?

Would people dare to lie to a robot?

Participants interacted with iCub in a live feed and had the chance to lie to it. We monitored their physiological responses when they decided to lie to the robot.  
This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme by the European Research Council (ERC) grant [No. ERC-2016-STG 715058] InStance: Intentional Stance for Social Attunement awarded to Prof. Agnieszka Wykowska. Additionally, some studies closely related to InStance are supported by internal funds from the Istituto Italiano di Tecnologia (IIT).
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