I, Robot, Mind perception in the real world.
Gelderen, C.C. van
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In contrast to prior beliefs, the perception of minds does not occur along a single continuum. Researchers Gray, Gray and Wegner (2007) proposed that mind perception is based on two distinct dimensions. These dimensions are agency and experience. Experience involves hunger, fear, pain, pleasure, rage, desire, personality, consciousness, pride, embarrassment, and joy. The other dimension is agency, which involves among other things self-control, morality, memory, emotion recognition, planning, communication, and thought. Studying these concepts is important since mind perception is closely tied to moral decision-making. The aim of this current exploratory study was to investigate if more information about robots would change the perception of people’s own minds in a social context. The idea is based on the notion that what is defined as the ‘self ’ does not exist in a vacuum but is influenced by the social space. The research question that was aimed to answer with this study was: “Can changes in robot mind perception change people’s own mind perception and control of behaviour?”. Seventy-six participants completed the experimental procedure, starting with the Social Technological Network task and the Diffusion of Responsibility task, then either an intentional or a mechanical knowledge manipulation followed. Afterwards the two tasks were repeated. For the Social Technological Network task changes in robot mind perception did not significantly influence mind perception of self. There was no significant effect found on behaviour either. The effects did all move in the right direction of what was expected, meaning that the significance might be found with an altered research design. Taking concepts like embodiment, human uniqueness and anthropomorphism into account could be fruitful for further research.