Human Perceptions of a Curious Robot’s Off-Task Actions

N. Walker, K. Weatherwax, J. Alchin, L. Takayama, and M. Cakmak, “Human Perceptions of a Curious Robot’s Off-Task Actions,” in ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 2020.


Researchers have proposed models of curiosity as a means to drive robots to learn and adapt to their environments. While these models balance goal- and exploration-oriented actions in a mathematically principled manor, it is not understood how users perceive a robot that pursues off-task actions. Motivated by a model of curiosity based on intrinsic rewards, we conducted three online video-surveys with a total of 264 participants, evaluating a variety of curious behaviors. Our results indicate that a robot’s off-task actions are perceived as expressions of curiosity, but that these actions lead to a negative impact on perceptions of the robot’s competence. When the robot explains or acknowledges its deviation from the primary task, this can partially mitigate the negative effects of off-task actions.

BibTeX Entry

  author = {Walker, Nick and Weatherwax, Kevin and Alchin, Julian and Takayama, Leila and Cakmak, Maya},
  title = {Human Perceptions of a Curious Robot's Off-Task Actions},
  booktitle = {ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI)},
  location = {Oxford, UK},
  month = mar,
  year = {2020},
  wwwtype = {conference}