The Influence of Subjects’ Personality Traits on Personal Spatial Zones in a Human-Robot Interaction Experiment

TitleThe Influence of Subjects’ Personality Traits on Personal Spatial Zones in a Human-Robot Interaction Experiment
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2005
AuthorsWalters ML, Dautenhahn K, Boekhorst R, Koay KL, Kaouri C, Woods SN, Nehaniv CL, Lee D, Werry I
Conference NameProeedings of the 14th IEEE International Workshop on Robot and Human Interactive Communication (RoMan05)
AbstractIn the present study we investigated humanrobot and robot-human approach distances. We found that subjects’ personality profiles influence personal spatial zones in human-robot interaction experiments. We tested two hypotheses: First, we predicted that approach distances preferred by humans when interacting with a robot would be comparable to those preferred when humans interact socially with each other. Our experiments involving humans interacting with a mobile robot confirm this hypothesis. However, surprisingly, a large minority of subjects in the experiments took up positions which were significantly closer, suggesting that they were not treating therobot as a ‘social entity’. We then tested the hypothesis that common personality factors exist which could be used to predict subjects’ likely approach distance preferences. The subjects’ personalities were assessed using several traits from the threefactor Eysenck personality model. The main personality indicator of approach distance preferences was the trait ofexcitement-seeking from the ‘extroversion’ factor: subjects that evaluate themselves as more excitement seeking scored higher on the ‘extroversion’ factor, i.e. allowed the robot to come closer. We discuss the limitations of Eysenck’s model for HRI interaction experiments. Further analysis of the data identified four new factors, different from Eysenck’s model, tentatively labelled "Proactiveness”, “Social Reluctance”, “Timidity” and “Nervousness”. It was found that there was an inverse relationship between the factor “Nervousness” combining especially Anxiety and Tension and the closeness of subjects’ initial approach to the robot, i.e. the more nervous a person judged himself the shorter the human-to-robot approach distances were. We discuss the potential suitability of personality factors to predict approach distances in human-robot interaction experiments.
Posted by mickwalters on Thursday, 19 February, 2009 /