Researchers Find Humans Prefer to Disclose Negative Experiences to Robotic Counselor Versus Human

Published by , September 11, 2017 12:26 pm

(PsychologyToday)  Takahisa Uchida and colleagues from Osaka University are researching whether people may find it easier to disclose negative feelings to a robot due to its lower social position than to a therapist. In their study, participants were introduced to three “counselors” – a human female; a realistic humanlike female robot (the android ERICA); and a small clearly non-human robot (CommU). They were asked to choose which of the three counselors they would prefer to talk to about 45 different items, including positive, negative, and neutral experiences.
The human counselor was preferred by 70 percent of participants for talking about positive experiences, compared to 30 percent who preferred either of the two robots. About half the participants chose the human counselor for neutral topics, and half chose either of the robots. However, less than half the participants chose the human counselor for discussing negative experiences, while the majority chose one of the robots.

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