Brain Scans Show Humans React in Similar Way to Violence Against Human or Robot

Posted on April 25, 2013


IEEE Spectrum reports that research presented at the International Communication Association conference in London found that humans react in a similar way to violence against a human or a robot. Human brains also have similar reactions when affection is shown toward a human or a robot.

The study, conducted by Astrid Rosenthal-von der Putten, at the University of Duisburg-Essen, involved 14 human volunteers watching videos while their brains were scanned with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In the affection version, humans, Pleo (a cute baby dinosaur robot) and a green box where treated with affectionately. IEEE says this included "tickles, hugs, caresses, or massages."

In the violence test, a woman and Pleo were each treated cruelly. The video below shows the cruel robot test. Pleo makes sounds as if it is really in distress. Although brain scans indicated humans felt bad for both the human and robot, their were differences that IEEE says "suggest the volunteers showed more concern for the human than for the robot."

Image: Uglobe