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Do geeks dream of electric sheep? Exploring the attitude of geeks toward robots

Echelmeyer, Lea (2014) Do geeks dream of electric sheep? Exploring the attitude of geeks toward robots.

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Abstract:Due to the improvement of the functions of humanoid robots, the concept of anthropomorphism is a relevant research topic in the field of human-robot interaction. In order to supplement the concept of ‘geekism’ – which is defined as the initial likelihood of an individual to intellectually delve into the underlying mechanisms of technological systems, based on a strong intrinsic motivation (Schmettow and Drees, 2014) – we tested the tendency of so-called ‘geeks’ to anthropomorphize robotic agents. Implementations about a low tendency were based on the three-factor theory of anthropomorphism, developed by Epley, Waytz, & Cacioppo (2007) and tested by the means of the perceived humanness scale and an adaption of the Stroop priming task. Mixed-effects regression analysis revealed no statistically significant results. In the scope of this study it could not be indicated that ‘so-called’ geeks have a tendency toward anthropomorphism that significantly differs from other people. Moreover, explanatory attempts of Epley et al. (2007) about the occurrence of anthropomorphism due to a complex inductive process could not be confirmed. Yet, correlational analysis between personality concepts revealed a moderate positive correlation between computer enthusiasm and need for cognition, supporting the assumption that those two features form the core of ‘geekism’. Finally, although it could be shown that individuals with computer enthusiasm have no preference for order, the need for closure does not seem to be related to the concept of geekism. Due to possible research limitations future studies on the relation between geekism and anthropomorphism should focus on the addition of sociality to the research model, which is one of the three factors within the theory of Epley et al. (2007), the use of a method that is able to detect whether anthropomorphic processing takes place on an automatic level, and an explicit measure of anthropomorphism that includes an affective component.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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