The shaping of social perception by stimulus and knowledge cues to human animacy

Cross, E. S. , Ramsey, R., Liepelt, R., Prinz, W. and Hamilton, A. F. d. C. (2016) The shaping of social perception by stimulus and knowledge cues to human animacy. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 371(1686), 20150075. (doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0075) (PMID:26644594) (PMCID:PMC4685521)

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Abstract

Although robots are becoming an ever-growing presence in society, we do not hold the same expectations for robots as we do for humans, nor do we treat them the same. As such, the ability to recognize cues to human animacy is fundamental for guiding social interactions. We review literature that demonstrates cortical networks associated with person perception, action observation and mentalizing are sensitive to human animacy information. In addition, we show that most prior research has explored stimulus properties of artificial agents (humanness of appearance or motion), with less investigation into knowledge cues (whether an agent is believed to have human or artificial origins). Therefore, currently little is known about the relationship between stimulus and knowledge cues to human animacy in terms of cognitive and brain mechanisms. Using fMRI, an elaborate belief manipulation, and human and robot avatars, we found that knowledge cues to human animacy modulate engagement of person perception and mentalizing networks, while stimulus cues to human animacy had less impact on social brain networks. These findings demonstrate that self–other similarities are not only grounded in physical features but are also shaped by prior knowledge. More broadly, as artificial agents fulfil increasingly social roles, a challenge for roboticists will be to manage the impact of pre-conceived beliefs while optimizing human-like design.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cross, Professor Emily
Authors: Cross, E. S., Ramsey, R., Liepelt, R., Prinz, W., and Hamilton, A. F. d. C.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Infection Immunity and Inflammation
Journal Name:Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Publisher:The Royal Society
ISSN:0962-8436
ISSN (Online):1471-2970
Published Online:07 December 2015
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2015 The Authors
First Published:First published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 371(1686):20150075
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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