Advancing the Strategic Messages Affecting Robot Trust Effect: The Dynamic of User- and Robot-Generated Content on Human-Robot Trust and Interaction Outcomes

Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2016 Sep;19(9):538-44. doi: 10.1089/cyber.2016.0199. Epub 2016 Sep 1.


Human-robot interaction (HRI) will soon transform and shift the communication landscape such that people exchange messages with robots. However, successful HRI requires people to trust robots, and, in turn, the trust affects the interaction. Although prior research has examined the determinants of human-robot trust (HRT) during HRI, no research has examined the messages that people received before interacting with robots and their effect on HRT. We conceptualize these messages as SMART (Strategic Messages Affecting Robot Trust). Moreover, we posit that SMART can ultimately affect actual HRI outcomes (i.e., robot evaluations, robot credibility, participant mood) by affording the persuasive influences from user-generated content (UGC) on participatory Web sites. In Study 1, participants were assigned to one of two conditions (UGC/control) in an original experiment of HRT. Compared with the control (descriptive information only), results showed that UGC moderated the correlation between HRT and interaction outcomes in a positive direction (average Δr = +0.39) for robots as media and robots as tools. In Study 2, we explored the effect of robot-generated content but did not find similar moderation effects. These findings point to an important empirical potential to employ SMART in future robot deployment.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Communication*
  • Female
  • Games, Experimental
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Robotics*
  • Trust*
  • Young Adult