The Role of Reciprocity in Verbally Persuasive Robots

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2016 Aug;19(8):524-7. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2016.0124. Epub 2016 Jul 22.


The current research examines the persuasive effects of reciprocity in the context of human-robot interaction. This is an important theoretical and practical extension of persuasive robotics by testing (1) if robots can utilize verbal requests and (2) if robots can utilize persuasive mechanisms (e.g., reciprocity) to gain human compliance. Participants played a trivia game with a robot teammate. The ostensibly autonomous robot helped (or failed to help) the participants by providing the correct (vs. incorrect) trivia answers. Then, the robot directly asked participants to complete a 15-minute task for pattern recognition. Compared to no help, results showed that a robot's prior helping behavior significantly increased the likelihood of compliance (60 percent vs. 33 percent). Interestingly, participants' evaluations toward the robot (i.e., competence, warmth, and trustworthiness) did not predict compliance. These results also provided an insightful comparison showing that participants complied at similar rates with the robot and with computer agents. This result documents a clear empirically powerful potential for the role of verbal messages in persuasive robotics.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Persuasive Communication*
  • Robotics*
  • Social Behavior*
  • Verbal Behavior*
  • Young Adult