Anthropomorphism and anthropomorphic design of robots

We conducted a content analysis of online forums about Roomba, AIBO, and the iPad to examine the usage and context of anthropomorphic language when writing about different types of technologies/robots. We investigated topics of interest to robot owners and how various language cues were used to relate to different kinds of interactive devices. The study revealed that anthropomorphism seems to be related to the shape, functionality, and interaction possibilities of a device, as well as to the topic of the conversation.

Collaborators: Julia Fink, Frédéric Kaplan, Omar Mubin, Pierre Dillenbourg

AIBO robotic dog, Roomba vacuum cleaning robot, and an ipad


We have been investigating people’s tendency to anthropomorphize robots (and technologies, and other objects) in several interaction studies, especially with child participants. We are now analyzing these results from both a psychological, and cognitive point of view, and also integrate findings from previous research in various fields. At the moment, we are working on a model that describes the dynamics in anthropomorphism that we found in our work.

Collaborators: Julia Fink, Séverin Lemaignan, Pierre Dillenbourg, Claire Braboszcz (Univeristé de Genève)


Publications and Presentations:

  • S. Lemaignan, J. Fink, P. Dillenbourg, C. Braboszcz. The Cognitive Correlates of Anthropomorphism. Workshop paper at “HRI: a bridge between Robotics and Neuroscience”, HRI 2014, Bielefeld, Germany, March 3-6, 2014 (link)
  • S. Lemaignan, J. Fink, P. Dillenbourg. The Dynamics of Anthropomorphism in Robotics. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction, HRI 2014, Bielefeld, Germany, March 3-6, 2014 (link)
  • J. Fink. Anthropomorphism and Human Likeness in the Design of Robots and Human-Robot Interaction. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2012, Chengdu, Sichuan, China, October 29-31, 2012, LNAI 7621, Springer, pp. 199-208 (link)
  • J. Fink, O. Mubin, F. Kaplan and P. Dillenbourg. Anthropomorphic Language in Online Forums about Roomba, AIBO and the iPad. Proceedings of the IEEE International Workshop on Advanced Robotics and its Social Impacts, ARSO 2012, Technische Universität München, Munich, Germany, May 21-23, 2012, p. 54-59 (link)
  • J. Fink, O. Mubin, F. Kaplan and P. Dillenbourg. Roomba is not a Robot; AIBO is still Alive! Anthropomorphic Language in Online Forums. Poster at the 3rd International Conference on Social Robotics, ICSR 2011, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, November 24-25, 2011 (link)