A Robot’s Expressive Language Affects Human Strategy and Perceptions in a Competitive Game


As robots are increasingly endowed with social and communicative capabilities, they will interact with humans in more settings, both collaborative and competitive. We explore human-robot relationships in the context of a competitive Stackelberg Security Game. We vary humanoid robot expressive language (in the form of encouraging or discouraging verbal commentary) and measure the impact on participants’ rationality, strategy prioritization, mood, and perceptions of the robot. We learn that a robot opponent that makes discouraging comments causes a human to play a game less rationally and to perceive the robot more negatively. We also contribute a simple open source Natural Language Processing framework for generating expressive sentences, which was used to generate sentences for our autonomous social robot to say during the study.

28th IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication