Believable Robot Characters

Reid Simmons, Maxim Makatchev, Rachel Kirby, Min Kyung Lee, Imran Fanaswala, Brett Browning, Jodi Forlizzi, Majd Sakr


Believability of characters has been an objective in literature, theater, film, and animation. We argue that believable robot characters are important in human-robot interaction, as well. In particular, we contend that believable characters evoke users’ social responses that, for some tasks, lead to more natural interactions and are associated with improved task performance. In a dialogue-capable robot, a key to such believability is the integration of a consistent storyline, verbal and nonverbal behaviors, and sociocultural context. We describe our work in this area and present empirical results from three robot receptionist testbeds that operate "in the wild."

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